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Walgreens Pays San Francisco Nearly $230 Million To Settle Opioids Lawsuit

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Walgreens Pays San Francisco Nearly $230 Million To Settle Opioids Lawsuit

(CTN News) – According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Walgreens has agreed to pay nearly $230 million to the city after settling claims that the pharmacy giant fueled the opioid epidemic that has plagued the city for decades.

After a federal judge ruling last year, which found that the drugstore chain put out hundreds of thousands of “red flag” prescription drug orders without investigating them, a settlement has been reached that will be paid out over the next 15 years.

As part of the payout, which city officials said includes $57 million in the first year, the city attorneys said in a court filing on Wednesday that the funds will be “dedicated to alleviating the crisis of opioid abuse in San Francisco”.

London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, said in a statement that the money would be used to fund programs such as treatment beds, dual diagnosis beds, abstinence-based programming, and transitional housing in the city.

In spite of the fact that we are grateful for the funding secured in this lawsuit, it will not be enough to replace the thousands of lives that have been lost in this country as a result of the opioid epidemic,” Breed stated.

In the wake of the rise of fentanyl, which has led to the destruction of thousands of lives, cities are being left to deal with what has become a generational crisis.

I contacted a Walgreens spokesperson for comment, but he did not respond immediately.

A public nuisance lawsuit was filed by San Francisco in 2018. According to a 112-page opinion that was written by Federal District Judge Charles Breyer, Walgreens dispensing hundreds of thousands of opioid prescriptions without proper vetting from 2006 to 2020 was a violation of the law.

It was reported by Breyer that Walgreen’s pharmacies were unable to review tens of thousands of prescriptions written by doctors with “suspicious prescribing patterns”.

According to Breyer, the plaintiff proved that Walgreens’ failure to conduct adequate due diligence for the past 15 years led to the conclusion that it is more likely than not that Walgreens pharmacies dispensed large volumes of medically illegitimate opioid prescriptions that were diverted to illicit use, resulting in a substantial increase in the opioid epidemic in San Francisco.

It was found by Judge Breyer that opioid-related emergency room visits spiked in the city from 886 in 2015 to 2,998 in 2020, more than tripling from 886 in 2015 to 2.

In San Francisco, the leading cause of death among homeless people since 2016, he wrote, has been opioid overdoses, and this has been the case since 2016.

According to a Walgreens spokesperson, the company expressed disappointment in the decision and had planned on appealing it after the ruling was made last year.

Walgreens spokesperson Fraser Engerman said at the time, “We have maintained all along that we did not manufacture or market opioids or distribute them to the ‘pill mills’ and internet pharmacies that led to this epidemic,” adding that Walgreens has not manufactured or marketed opioids at any point in time.

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