Major National Pharmacies Have Agreed to Pay More than $10 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits

The Run-Down: CVS and Walgreens have reached a settlement agreement of $10 billion after lawsuits brought by states, cities, and Native American tribes claimed the pharmacies had an integral role in creating the opioid epidemic

  1. Under the proposition, CVS would pay $4.9 billion to states and municipalities and $130 million to tribes over the next 10 years starting next year and Walgreens would pay up to $4.79 billion to states over 15 years and $155 million to tribes
  2. Both companies have said the agreement is not an admission of guilt
  3. Members of both plaintiff and defendant parties are calling this a move in the best interest of all

Why You Should Care:

This agreement would be a historical win for advocates that have been fighting to end the opioid epidemic for years. With this money, recipients will use the funds to pad up social programs focused on opioid abuse. Lawsuits have argued that pharmacies did not do enough to curb the abuse of opioids use and stop them from freefalling into communities. However, drugstores have argued they followed all regulations. 

This is a compliance issue on the macro level. With communities across the nation being majorly impacted by the opioid epidemic – people began demanding real, concrete change. Advocates argued for accountability, pointing fingers at every party involved.

This is the perfect example of the importance of corporate social responsibility. Pharmacies have been held under a microscope for the part they played in exasperating the drug crisis – and they’re finally playing the price.

This is also a great reminder that just following federal, state, and local regulations is not enough. Businesses need to be ahead of the curve, not just on the course. By creating robust, in-depth policies and procedures that align with internal and external values (that go beyond making a profit), corporations can find themselves on the right side of history. This can put them in the good graces of consumers, all while building a team that emphasizes humanity in the business.

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