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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced reaching a multistate settlement in principle with Walmart to resolve allegations that the company helped fuel the opioid crisis by failing to appropriately oversee the dispensing of opioids at its pharmacies. The proposed multistate settlement will provide more than $3 billion in funding, the vast majority of which will go to communities across the nation to help fight the opioid crisis. The agreement also contains significant injunctive relief, including increased oversight, and improvements to Walmart pharmacies' policies and procedures regarding opioids.
“This is another step forward in our fight to hold all those who profited from the opioid epidemic accountable for the devastation they caused in California and beyond," said Attorney General Bonta. “Too many lives and futures have been lost to this crisis. It's time to heal our communities. The California Department of Justice will continue to fight to support all those harmed by this public health crisis."
The settlement will include:
An executive committee of attorneys general from California, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas have served as the lead negotiators on this deal. The settlement has been approved by the executive committee, attorneys representing local governments, and Walmart. It is now being sent to other states for review and approval.
In order to be finalized, the proposed settlement must gain support of 43 states by the end of 2022, allowing local governments to join the deal during the first quarter of 2023. Further details about how the money will be distributed will be forthcoming. Last month, states confirmed that promising negotiations were also underway with Walgreens and CVS. The parties continue their efforts to conclude those negotiations.
Attorney General Bonta is committed to holding accountable all those who fueled or profited from the opioid epidemic, and bringing needed funding back to impacted communities. To date, DOJ has secured approximately $30 billion through nationwide settlements against opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt, and Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family; distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen; and consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
In California in 2020, 5,502 people died due to opioid overdose, and 3,946 died due to fentanyl overdose. In the 2022-2023 budget year, DOJ secured $7.9 million for the creation of the Fentanyl Enforcement Program, with an allocation of $6.7 million in ongoing funding. Under the program, DOJ works with local and federal law enforcement partners throughout the state to detect, deter, disrupt, and dismantle fentanyl operations and criminal enterprises to prevent fentanyl from reaching California neighborhoods and communities and help those directly impacted by the crisis.