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CVS settles with Florida on opioids, first US state deal

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New York (AFP) – CVS Health will pay $484 million to the state of Florida to settle opioid claims, the parties announced Wednesday, in the drugstore chain’s first settlement with a U.S. state.

The agreement, under which most of the funds will go towards treating health effects or drug abuse, follows other major agreements involving drug manufacturers and distributors.

A myriad of players in America’s pharmaceutical and medical supply chain have been blamed for helping to spread a health crisis that has resulted in more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the United States over the past 20 years.

“The opioid epidemic is taking a toll on Florida families,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. “Since my first day in office, I have worked tirelessly to hold to account the companies that helped trigger this crisis.”

Besides CVS, Moody’s announced three small settlements with drugmakers Teva ($195 million), Allergan ($134 million), and Endo ($65 million).

The four companies’ payments to Florida total $878 million, according to the sums reported in Moody’s press release.

Drugstore chains such as CVS, Walgreen’s and Walmart continue to face multiple lawsuits, having yet to settle the vast majority of cases.

CVS said the agreement means he will no longer be a defendant in a Florida opioid lawsuit scheduled to go to trial next month.

“Putting these affirmations behind us is in the best interests of all parties and helps us better focus on delivering a personalized and connected healthcare experience for the millions of consumers who rely on us,” said the CEO. General Counsel Thomas Moriarty of CVS.

The agreement does not include any admission of wrongdoing by CVS.

CVS, along with Walgreens, Rite Aid and Walmart, agreed to a $26 million settlement last summer with two New York counties.

In November, an Ohio jury sided with two of the state’s counties that sued Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, finding that the three companies acted unlawfully in filling large opioid prescriptions, creating an “oversupply” of drugs and “public nuisance”.

The companies announced their intention to appeal the Ohio judgment.

A CVS spokesperson said the channel “will continue to vigorously defend itself against further opioid-related lawsuits” in an email to AFP.