CVS, Walgreens to settle opioid lawsuits for $10B

CVS and Walgreens have agreed in principle to pay a combined $10 billion to resolve opioid lawsuits, the pharmacy chains announced Wednesday.


CVS would pay $4.9 billion to states and political subdivisions, like cities and counties, and around $130 million to tribes over 10 years, starting next year, according to a release from the company.

The tentative settlement from CVS would resolve lawsuits and claims involving the addictive painkillers going back a decade or more, though the company says the non-monetary terms are yet to be finalized.

Walgreens also announced Wednesday that it agreed in principle to pay approximately $4.95 billion to states, subdivisions and tribes and to settle all opioid claims against it, according to a release. The funds would be paid over a 15-year period.

  • “We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders,” said CVS Health’s Chief Policy Officer Thomas Moriarty.
  • “As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, we remain committed to being a part of the solution, and this settlement framework will allow us to keep our focus on the health and wellbeing of our customers and patients, while making positive contributions to address the opioid crisis,” Walgreens said in a statement.

Both companies underscored that the payments are not an admission of liability or wrongdoing. But, if the agreements go through, the settlements could be some of the biggest connected to the opioid crisis.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the companies, alleging that they downplayed the risks involved in opioid painkillers and failing to detect false prescriptions, thereby worsening the opioid epidemic.