Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, has announced that it will pay $3.1 billion as a preliminary agreement in lawsuits filed by state, local, and tribal governments over the company’s role in the opioid crisis.
The lawsuits were brought about because of Walmart’s role in selling opioids.
In a statement that was made public on Tuesday, Walmart disclosed the settlement structure and made an offer to pay a charge that would equate to almost 2 percent of the company’s quarterly sales, which AFP estimates to be more than $150 billion.
According to the statement released by Walmart, “Walmart thinks the settlement structure has the best interests of everyone involved and will give considerable help to communities around the nation in their battle against the opioid epidemic.” “Walmart strenuously rejects the accusations in these issues, and the settlement structure does not involve any acknowledgment of culpability in any kind,”
According to the CDC Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the opioid epidemic has been linked to almost 700,000 fatalities since 1999. A number of pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and wholesalers have been sued for reckless practices that contributed to the progression of the issue.
Since 2017, more than 3,300 lawsuits of this kind have been brought, which has resulted in more than $50 billion being paid out in settlements.
2 US drugstore companies, CVS & Walgreens, have agreed to pay around $5 billion apiece to resolve cases that were comparable to the one being discussed here.
As a result of the opioid epidemic, several businesses that were engaged have already signed settlements, therefore the potential settlement agreed by Walmart might be the final major agreement of its kind reached by a huge organization.
Walmart has said in its statement that it would continue to maintain legal resources to defend itself against further litigation connected to the problem even after the settlement framework has been implemented.
For the settlements to be finalized, Walmart’s proposal would need to be approved by the local governments of 43 states by the middle of December, and state governments would have until the end of March 2023 to sign on. The amount of money that will be allotted to each state is based, in part, on the number of local governments that will accept the settlement.
According to the assertions of certain state authorities, Walmart had a lower level of irresponsibility in comparison to other distributors when it came to the prescription of opioids.