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April 19, 2024

Philadelphia will get $110 million from Walgreens in opioid lawsuit settlement

The money will be distributed over five years, and used to fund drug education, treatment and prevention efforts.

Lawsuits Opioids
Walgreens opioid settlement Nick King/Lansing State Journal; USA TODAY NETWORK

A lawsuit filed by Philadelphia accused Walgreens of contributing to the opioid crisis by failing to report suspicious orders or prescription. Under the terms of the $110 million settlement, the pharmacy chain denied any wrongdoing.

Back in 2021, Philadelphia sued Walgreens for allegedly failing to report suspicious orders of opioids and dispensing those medications without investigating the prescriptions, actions that city attorneys argued contributed to the opioid crisis. That lawsuit has now been settled to the tune of $110 million, which Walgreens will pay out over the next five years.

City officials shared details of the settlement Friday. Starting in September, the pharmacy chain will dispense an annual payment of at least $20 million to be used on drug education, treatment and prevention efforts in the Philadelphia neighborhoods most impacted by the opioid crisis. Under the terms of the agreement, Walgreens denied any liability or wrongdoing.

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"Through its predatory business practices, Walgreens has played a significant role in the creation and continuation of the opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of too many Philadelphians and caused immense harm to our communities," City Solicitor Renee Garcia said in a statement. "We are hopeful that these funds can be used to accelerate the City's efforts to reduce widespread addiction and prevent further loss of life due to opioid overdose."

Mayor Cherelle Parker said the settlement funds would support her plan to revitalize Kensington, the epicenter of the city's drug overdose crisis. This plan has attracted sharp criticism from harm reduction activists, who say the law-and-order approach favored by Parker and City Council's so-called Kensington Caucus only will increase overdoses and infectious disease.

Pennsylvania is also set to receive $450 million from Walgreens and CVS, thanks to a $10 billion multi-state settlement finalized in 2022. Those payments will also be staggered, over 15 years for Walgreens and a decade for CVS.

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