CVS, Walgreens agree to $10 billion opioid settlement

(NEW YORK) — CVS Health and Walgreens on Wednesday said they had agreed in principle to pay about $10 billion in total to settle a series of opioid-related lawsuits brought against the pharmacy chains.

CVS said it had agreed to a $5 billion settlement designed to “substantially resolve” the open opioid lawsuits against it.

“We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders,” said Thomas Moriarty, CVS’s chief policy officer and general counsel, in a statement. “We are committed to working with states, municipalities and tribes, and will continue our own important initiatives to help reduce the illegitimate use of prescription opioids.”

Walgreen said it had also agreed in principle to a settlement totalling about $4.95 billion, to be paid over 15 years.

“As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, we remain committed to being a part of the solution, and this settlement framework will allow us to keep our focus on the health and wellbeing of our customers and patients, while making positive contributions to address the opioid crisis,” Walgreens said in a statement. “We believe this is in the best interest of the company and our stakeholders at this time, and allows our pharmacists, dedicated healthcare professionals who live and work in the communities they serve, to continue playing a critical role in providing education and resources to help combat opioid misuse and abuse.”

CVS said the national settlement, which has been agreed to in principle, would resolve lawsuits brought by states and other governments. Some of those claims date back a decade or more. The settlement isn’t an “an admission of any liability or wrongdoing,” the company said.

CVS Health shares ticked up about 4% in morning trading on Wednesday, after it released third-quarter results alongside the settlement announcement. Walgreens shares climbed about 2%.

CVS’s settlement payments would be spread over a 10-year period beginning in 2023, depending on the number of governmental entities that agree to join the settlement. The parties are still determining the “non-monetary” terms to be included in the settlement, CVS said.

CVS’s payments would include about $4.9 billion to be paid to states, cities, counties and other political plaintiffs, CVS said. About $130 million would be paid to tribes, according to Wednesday’s statement.

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway and Alexandra Faul contributed to this story.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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