California is expected to receive about $470 million from a multistate settlement with CVS over allegations that the drugstore chain contributed to the nation’s opioid crisis, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday.
Last year, CVS Health and Walgreens agreed to pay about $5 billion each to settle a series of lawsuits brought by state and local governments accusing the chains of filling prescriptions that should have been marked as inappropriate, helping fueling an epidemic that has killed more. more than half a million Americans in the last 20 years.
The funds were to be distributed among the participating states after approval of agreements with each company.
“Today, we begin the year with another victory in our fight to hold corporate giants accountable for their role in fueling the opioid crisis,” states California. January Rob Bonta said in a statement on Tuesday. “Funds from this settlement will help bring much-needed relief to our communities and ensure that CVS changes its business practices to prevent this crisis from happening again.”
Most of the money from the settlement is to be used for treatment and recovery services for people struggling with opioid abuse.
CVS will need to implement additional employee training and investigate potentially suspicious prescriptions. Company pharmacies will be subject to site visits and compliance reviews.
Early in America’s long opioid crisis, the majority of overdose deaths involved prescription drugs. Many people with opioid use disorders switched to heroin as officials and health care providers tried to make prescription opioids harder to abuse and obtain. In recent years, deaths have increased mainly due to illicitly produced fentanyl.
Last month, the attorney general’s office announced that California would receive more than $500 million from the Walgreens settlement. The state is also eligible to receive $265 million from a similar set of lawsuits against Walmart.