Walgreens has agreed to pay nearly $230 million to San Francisco to settle a claim that the pharmaceutical giant fueled the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the city for decades.
The settlement, to be paid out over 15 years, follows a federal judge’s ruling last year that the drugstore chain sold hundreds of thousands of “red flag” prescription drug orders without regulatory approval. check.
The payment, which city officials say includes $57 million in the first year, will be “dedicated to tackling the opioid epidemic in San Francisco,” city attorneys wrote in the filing. in court on Wednesday.
IN statementSan Francisco Mayor London Breed said the money would be used for programs including “treatment beds, dual diagnosis beds, abstinence-based programs and transitional housing.”
“While we are grateful for the funding secured in this lawsuit, it will not replace the thousands of lives that have been lost as a result of the ongoing opioid epidemic across our country,” Breed said. I. “Life is being devastated, especially with the rise of fentanyland what are the cities that are being left to deal with the generation crisis.
A spokesperson for Walgreens did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
San Francisco filed a public nuisance lawsuit in 2018. In a 112-page opinion last year, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wrote that between 2006 and 2020, Walgreens distributed the goods. hundreds of thousands of opioid prescriptions without proper vetting.
Tens of thousands of prescriptions were written by doctors with “questionable prescribing patterns,” Breyer wrote, and Walgreens did not give its pharmacists enough time or resources to review them.
“Due to 15 years of Walgreens’ failure to conduct adequate due diligence, plaintiff demonstrated that it was likely that Walgreens pharmacies that distributed large quantities of medically illicit opioid prescription drugs were diverted for illicit use, and that has contributed significantly to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco,” Breyer wrote.
Breyer found that opioid-related emergency room visits spiked in the city, more than tripling from 886 in 2015 to 2,998 in 2020. And since 2016, he writes, opioid overdoses have become the cause leading cause of death among the homeless in San Francisco.
Following the ruling last year, a Walgreens spokesman said the company was disappointed with the decision and planned to appeal.
Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman said: “As we’ve said throughout this process, we have never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor have we distributed them to a ‘pill factory’ ‘ and online pharmacies have caused this crisis.