Oregon will receive up to $173 million to prevent and treat addiction and drug use disorder as part of three nationwide settlements with pharmacy chains engaged in the opioid epidemic, according to a statement from the Oregon Attorney General.
Oregon's portion comes from $13.7 billion in three nationwide settlements made by other attorneys general with Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens since November. CVS and Walgreens, the two largest drugstore companies in the United States, struck a $10.7 billion nationwide deal. In November, Walmart reached a $3 billion nationwide settlement.
The settlements bring an end to another legal chapter in Oregon's opioid epidemic, which has devastated lives from rural to urban Portland. Every year, hundreds of Oregonians are killed by opioid overdoses, and the number is growing. Oregon had 280 unintended opioid overdose fatalities in 2019. In 2020, there will be 472 fatalities. In 2021, 745 Oregonians died as a result of opioid overdoses.
According to the attorney general, pharmacies were a critical link in the supply chain that contributed to the largest drug-induced public health disaster in modern American history. This may appear to be a significant sum of money, and it is, yet it just touches the surface of the damage done by America's top drugstore companies.
According to an Oregon Department of Justice spokesperson, 55% of the money will go to 81 Oregon towns and counties with populations higher than 10,000. The remaining 45% of the state's funds will be managed by the Opioid Settlement Prevention Treatment and Recovery Board for statewide initiatives and programmes such as outreach, training, and screenings.
CVS will pay $5 billion, Walgreens will pay $5.7 billion, and Walmart will pay $3 billion under the deals. To get the full sums, states must sign up to the accords. Oregon counties and towns must also sign the agreements in order for the state to get the entire sum. In 2021, Oregon agreed a $329 million settlement with opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson as well as three pharmaceutical distributors: McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen. In that event, the agreement was signed by all Oregon cities and counties.
The pharmacy businesses committed to monitoring, disclosing, and exchanging data on suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions as part of the arrangement.
States have till the end of the year to consider and sign up for the accords. Following that, the three corporations will approach municipal governments around the country for approval in the first quarter of 2023.
Payments may begin as early as the second half of 2023. The majority of Walmart's payments will be made in the first year. CVS payments will be made over a 10-year term, while Walgreens payments will be made over a 15-year period.
As part of a $6 billion national accord, Oregon also secured a $97 million settlement with Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family in March. This comes after states accused the corporation of using deceptive marketing practises to target Oregon seniors who use the painkiller OxyContin while downplaying the drug's hazards.