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Nevada secures USD285M opioid settlement with Walgreens

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The state of Nevada in the United States has reached a USD285 million settlement with Walgreens regarding the pharmacy chain’s role in the opioid epidemic, a top lawyer announced on Wednesday.

The last in a series of multiyear settlements with pharmaceutical companies, retailers and others, it pushes Nevada’s total anticipated payments stemming from opioid claims to USD1.1 billion, state Attorney General Aaron Ford’s office said in a news release. Nevada is among numerous states that have reached settlements now totaling more than USD50 billion nationwide.

“When I first took office as attorney general, I made it clear that seeking justice for those harmed by the opioid epidemic was one of my top priorities,” Ford said.

Walgreens had no comment on the settlement, a company spokesman said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Walgreens is the final defendant named in a lawsuit the state filed in 2019, Ford’s office said.

Woman walking along a Walgreens store. PHOTO: AFP

The USD285 million settlement will be paid over 15 years and will be split between the state and the signatories of the One Nevada Agreement, a coalition of Nevada county and city governments, Ford said.

The state will retain about USD98.1 million, which will be placed in a fund that was created to help finance opioid recovery programmes through the state Department of Health and Human Services. The coalition will receive about USD116.2 million.

The state reached a USD193 million agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals in June and a USD152 million deal with CVS in May.

Much of the more than USD50 billion obtained through settlements nationwide is to be used to deal with an overdose crisis linked to more than 100,000 deaths a year in the US.

Last year, CVS agreed to pay state and local governments nearly USD5 billion to settle lawsuits over the toll of opioids.

But Nevada did not join in that litigation in order to pursue the single-state settlement, Ford spokesperson John Sadler said.

Nevada joined another multistate settlement with three of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers in April 2022 totalling USD232 million over nearly two decades.