The large manufacturers and marketers of medicines in the United States have been accused for years of mishandling opioid analgesics, with a very high cost, both in lives and in pressure on the health system.
If US drugmakers and distributors have already signed multimillion-dollar settlements to resolve thousands of opioid lawsuits, it’s now the turn of retail pharmaceutical companies.
The pharmacy chain CVS Health Corp announced that it will pay more than 5,000 million dollars to settle a series of lawsuits at the state, local and native tribe levels, for its role in the opioid crisis in the United States.
It joins Walgreens, which revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had agreed to pay about $5.7 billion over 15 years for the same reason.
None of the companies admitted wrongdoing. However, CVS General Counsel Thomas Moriarty said in a statement that the company was pleased to resolve the claims and that the settlement was “in the best interests of all parties, as well as our clients, colleagues and shareholders.” .
For his part, Paul Geller, one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs, assured that these agreements “will bring billions of additional dollars to communities that are desperate for funds to combat the epidemic” of addiction to opiates.
Walgreens stated in its SEC filing that it continues to believe it has “strong legal defenses” and will vigorously defend against any future lawsuits not covered by the settlement.
Both CVS and Walgreens made it clear that their agreements would not be final until certain legal terms were resolved and that the total amount could be reduced if not enough government plaintiffs sign on.
According to Reuters, the multinational retailer Walmart, the largest employer in the United States, would also have agreed to pay 3.1 billion dollars, although it has not made it official.
Previous deals totaled $21 billion from the three largest US drug distributors: $5 billion from Johnson & Johnson; $4.35 billion from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; $2.37 billion from AbbVie Inc. and $450 million from Endo International Plc.
An epidemic that dates back to the 90s and gets worse every day
Every year, thousands of Americans die from opioid overdoses, found in pain relievers that drug companies advertised in the late 1990s as safe, non-addictive substances.
In more than 3,300 lawsuits as of 2017, state and local governments charge drugstore companies with helping to cause public harm by ignoring the misuse of their products by many of their users.
As a result, according to federal government data, some 650,000 people have died from overdoses since the opioid epidemic began in 1999, and the situation continues to worsen.
A Congressional report last month put the economic cost of the opioid crisis at $1.5 trillion in 2020 alone, when overdoses of these pain relievers, including prescription pills and heroin, rose 38% vs. last year.
With Reuters and EFE
#Economy #CVS #Walgreens #Agree #Pay #Billion #Settle #Opioid #Lawsuits
Leave a Reply