Walmart agreed to a staggering $3.1 billion settlement of opioid lawsuits brought by several US states and municipalities.

The retailer was charged with dispensing the highly addictive painkillers at its pharmacies despite warnings, which enabled them to be redirected to the black market.

The deal settles a number of cases filed by states, cities, and Native American tribes.

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CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance have also agreed to pay nearly $5 billion to resolve the cases earlier this month.

The deal settles a number of cases filed by states, cities, and Native American tribes.

Despite agreeing to pay out, the corporations have made no admissions of wrongdoing in their agreements.

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Each state, local government, and tribe must now decide whether or not to take part in the settlement.

Attorneys leading the lawsuit said the payments hold pharmacies accountable for their accused roles in opioid misuse.

Walmart said it vigorously denies the accusations in the cases and that the settlement is not an admission of responsibility.

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The corporation claims its settlement funds would reach communities faster than other deals.

Walmart has almost half the number of stores as CVS and Walgreens, which together have around 19,000 US drugstores.

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The Justice Department filed a complaint in December 2020 about its alleged participation in the opioid crisis.

It accused Walmart of trying to boost revenues by understaffing its pharmacies and pressing employees to fill prescriptions as quickly as possible.

The state settlement does not include the federal action that Walmart attempted to dismiss.

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Opioid misuse has taken over half a million lives and set off over 3,000 suits against pharmaceutical industry players like manufacturers, distributors, and drugstores.

The plaintiffs are demanding injunctions in negotiations with CVS and Walgreens.

It would necessitate some changes in pharmacy practices and improved protections for opioid dispensing.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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