Walmart Pays $3.1 Billion in Opioid Settlement Led by Colorado and 15 Other States | government agencies

Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1 billion in a national settlement to settle claims by over a dozen attorneys general that the company contributed to the opioid addiction crisis.

Colorado is set to receive more than $40 million of the settlement money, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Tuesday. Weiser chaired the settlement framework negotiations with attorneys general from North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas.

The leading attorneys general all agreed to the settlement. It must now be reviewed and approved by other states by the end of 2022.

Colorado's 462 faces of fentanyl

“We continue to hold accountable the companies that created and fueled the opioid crisis that has devastated communities and harmed Coloradans across the state,” said Weiser. “This agreement with Walmart adds to the important advances we have already made through our agreements with the opioid manufacturers and distributors, and there is more to do.”

As of August of this year, 462 Coloradans had died from the synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to the state health department. From 2019 to 2021, Colorado had the second highest increase in fentanyl-related deaths of any state, according to a February report by nonprofit Families Against Fentanyl.

Attorneys general argued that Walmart fueled the national opioid crisis by failing to adequately monitor the dispensing of opioids at its stores.

In a statement Tuesday, Walmart said it “strongly denies” these allegations, but the settlement does not include an admission of liability.

“Walmart believes the settlement framework is in the best interests of all parties and will provide significant assistance to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with assistance reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid agreement to date.” ‘ read the statement. “Walmart will continue to vigorously defend the company against any lawsuits not resolved by this settlement framework.”

In addition to the $3.1 billion, the settlement requires Walmart to improve the way its dispensaries handle opioids. Weiser said the “comprehensive, court-ordered requirements” would “include robust oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and flag suspect prescriptions.”

If approved, the $3.1 billion will be shared by enrolling states, local governments and tribes and must be used to provide treatment and recovery services for people struggling with opioid use disorders. In Colorado, the $40 million will be distributed under the opioid framework agreed to by state and local governments in August 2021.

Weiser said “promising” negotiations for opioid settlements are also underway with Walgreens and CVS.

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