Maui Business

Hawai’i Attorney General announces $3.1 billion settlement with Walmart over opioid epidemic allegations

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Walmart in Kahului. Photo Credit: Gaylord Paul Garcia

A settlement in principle was struck between Walmart and lead negotiators to resolve allegations that the company contributed to the opioid addiction crisis by failing to appropriately oversee the dispensing of opioids at its stores.

The proposed settlement, announced by Hawai‘i Attorney General Holly T. Shikada today, would provide more than $3 billion nationally and require significant improvements in how Walmart’s pharmacies handle opioids.

Hawaiʻi and its sister states are carefully reviewing the proposed settlement.

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“Opioid addiction has taken a terrible toll on too many individuals and families resulting in loss of lives and years of heartache,” Attorney General Shikada said in statement.  “Going forward, companies that profit from the sale of these prescription drugs must do so responsibly and contribute to the welfare of the community by providing resources to help those in need of opioid treatment and recovery services.”

The proposed settlement includes:

  • $3.1 billion to be divided by states that sign on, local governments and tribes; it must be used to provide treatment and recovery services to people struggling with opioid use disorder.
  • Broad, court-ordered requirements, including robust oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and flag suspicious prescriptions.

In the event the proposed settlement gains the support of the required 43 states by the end of 2022, local governments will be able to join the deal during the first quarter of 2023.  Further details about how the money will be distributed will be forthcoming.

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Attorneys General from North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas served as the lead negotiators on this deal.

Walmart issued this statement on its website:

Walmart believes the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with aid reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid settlement to date, subject to satisfying all settlement requirements.

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Walmart is proud of our pharmacists and our efforts to help fight the opioid crisis. Walmart strongly disputes the allegations in these matters, and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability. Walmart will continue to vigorously defend the company against any lawsuit not resolved through this settlement framework.

About Walmart’s Commitment to Opioid Stewardship
Walmart’s mission is to help people “live better,” and this includes both providing our customers with access to their prescription medications and helping to fight the opioid crisis facing our country. Walmart has adopted many approaches to fighting the opioid crisis, such as:

  • Educating and empowering pharmacists
  • Reducing the amount of opioids dispensed
  • Protecting against diversion and theft
  • Increasing access to overdose reversal medication
  • Educating our patients and our communities about opioid abuse
  • Advocating for state and national policies aimed at curbing opioid abuse and misuse

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