January 19, 2023
On January 11, 2023, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that New Jersey has joined nationwide settlement agreements with pharmacy chains CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, as well as with drug makers Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, to resolve claims involving their alleged roles in fomenting the country's opioid crisis.
The settlement agreements, finalized over the past several weeks, amount to the five companies agreeing to pay as much as $20.1 billion collectively to states and local governments across the nation. In addition to the financial disbursements, the settlements require the five companies to make significant changes to their business practices to prevent similar crises in the future.
The changes will come in response to allegations that the pharmacy chains helped fuel the opioid epidemic by ignoring red flags that prescriptions were being diverted into illegal trafficking. As a result of the settlements, the pharmacies have agreed to court-ordered injunctive relief that would require them to monitor, report, and share data about suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions.
For the settlements to take effect, a significant number of states and county and municipal governments nationwide will need to agree to the proposed terms of the settlement agreements, which is expected to happen throughout the first quarter of this year, as reported on njbiz.com.
According to a release from the Office of the Attorney General, if New Jersey receives the maximum amounts from all five settlements, the payments would be as follows:
- $143 million - Walgreens
- $131.5 million - CVS
- $99.8 million - Teva
- $74.4 million - Walmart
- $59.4 million - Allergan
New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman was quoted in the Attorney General's release saying, "This new settlement will enhance our continued efforts to save lives, connect New Jerseyans to support and treatment, and improve prevention efforts, while further holding those entities who played a role in sparking this epidemic accountable . . . I thank Attorney General Platkin for taking steps to ensure New Jersey receives these resources, and look forward to working with the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Advisory Council to ensure settlement funds are used effectively. The goal - as always - is to find ways to save lives and quell this epidemic."