Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced at least $147 million in settlements with Walmart and CVS over allegations that the pharmacies failed to responsibly control the flow of opioids in West Virginia, allowing oversupply that contributed to an addiction crisis.
“To all the families who’ve lost loved ones, I think all of us know people who have been touched by this epidemic. This has ravaged our state unlike anything else,” Morrisey said in an announcement today.
“We can’t bring back those lives, but we can have accountability and we can make sure West Virginia has more strength in the accountability side than any other state in the nation.”
The two companies had been defendants in a broader case involving other major pharmacies. The court case against the remaining pharmacy defendants, Walgreens and Kroger, continues before the Mass Litigation Panel with a trial date next June 5.
Last month, the Attorney General announced a settlement with Rite Aid for up to $30 million.
“To those companies that have not seen fit to reach agreement with us yet, we’re not going to back down. We’re going to keep pressing,” Morrisey said. “At the end of the day we want to make sure that all of the entities that we’ve brought suit against, that there’s accountability for everyone.”
Morrisey today said the total amount to be distributed from a range of legal actions on opioids amounts to $874 million. The money from all opioid settlements will be distributed under the terms of the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding.
The memorandum lays out the terms for the state and the many counties and cities that may receive a portion from state legal actions over opioid addiction. It includes a comprehensive plan to use the money in a variety of ways to push back against ongoing drug addiction issues.
Morrisey said there are now agreements from all counties and almost all municipalities to coordinate with the memorandum’s framework.
“That means that we have critical mass to make sure we can reach these settlement agreements with a lot of the defendants within the pharmaceutical supply channel,” Morrisey said in a news briefing today at his office.
“This is big. And we’re going to save a lot of lives. This is going to allow West Virginia to attack this problem holistically from a supply, a demand and an educational perspective.”