California could receive more than $500 million from Walgreens opioid settlement

A person walks outside a Walgreens store
California could see more than $500 million from a $5.7-billion multistate agreement with Walgreens to settle lawsuits over its role in the opioid epidemic.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

California could receive more than $500 million from a $5.7-billion multistate agreement to settle a raft of lawsuits filed against Walgreens over the pharmacy chain’s role in the opioid crisis, officials said.

“The settlement will resolve allegations that the company failed to appropriately oversee the dispensing of opioids at its pharmacies,” the California attorney general’s office said Monday in a release.

In November, Walgreens and CVS Health agreed to pay about $5 billion each to settle thousands of lawsuits in which state and local governments alleged that they filled prescriptions that should have been marked as inappropriate. The funds were to be split among the participating states.


Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta called the settlement a win in the fight against the overdose crisis by targeting the pharmacy chain’s “role in fueling the opioid epidemic.” More than 500,000 deaths over the last 20 years in the U.S. have been linked to opioid abuse.

More than 100 million prescription opioid pills were dispensed by Walgreens in the city between 2006 and 2020.

Aug. 10, 2022

“To all those struggling with substance abuse disorders, to all those desperately in need of treatment and recovery options — help is on the way,” Bonta said in the release.

The vast majority of the funds received by states from the settlement must be used to address opioid addiction including by providing treatment and recovery services.

In addition to the funds, the settlement would also require that Walgreens investigate prescriptions with “red flags” before dispensing medications and conduct site visits and compliance reviews, among other stipulations.

Monday’s announcement comes a month after Walmart agreed to a similar settlement for more than $3 billion, with California eligible to receive approximately $265 million.

California is “assessing the terms” of the proposed agreement with CVS, the attorney general’s office said.