Intended for healthcare professionals


US pharmacy chains settle opioid lawsuits for $13bn

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 08 November 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2688
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

The three largest US pharmacy chains have agreed to pay $13bn in a settlement to resolve lawsuits claiming they contributed to the opioid epidemic by dispensing opioid drugs despite obvious red flags.

CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart faced more than 3000 lawsuits from states, municipalities, and Native American tribes. During years of litigation these groups claimed that pharmacists had dispensed opioid drugs without regard to warning signs, such as the huge quantities of the drugs they were dispensing and the possibility that the drugs could be diverted to the black market.

More than half a million Americans have died of drug overdoses during the 20 years of the …

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