$500 Million Opioids Settlement Secured from Walgreens

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Heavy-hitter mass torts law firm Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR) proudly announced a $500-million settlement agreement with Walgreens, the pharmaceutical giant accused of recklessly dispensing opioids and, in so doing, facilitating the State of New Mexico’s opioid crisis.

“The New Mexico settlement is one of the largest separate settlements ever obtained from a single opioid defendant in the U.S., and it is the largest Attorney General settlement in New Mexico history”, said LPR Attorney Jeff Gaddy, who was co-lead of the trial team along with Peter Mougey of Levin Papantonio Rafferty, Dan Alberstone and Mark Pifko of Baron & Budd PC, Anthony Majestro of Powell Majestro PLLC, and Luis Robles of Robles Rael Anaya.

“Walgreens’ actions cost communities in the State of New Mexico in ways that can never be recovered with a financial payout, but we have confidence that this flow of funds will help the State and its residents begin to heal,” Gaddy said.

Mougey remarked that the fact that the settlement agreement came after the trial, rather than before or even during trial, makes it even more notable as an achievement in civil litigation.

“The fact that Walgreens was willing to pay half a billion dollars to avoid receiving a verdict after all of the evidence had been heard illustrates the strength of the case that was offered that tied Walgreens’ corporate behavior to the opioid epidemic in New Mexico,” Mougey said.

The trial counsel for the State of New Mexico was tasked with presenting evidence and arguments to convince District Judge Francis J. Mathew that Walgreens failed to implement controls over the State’s supply of opioids and conduct the due diligence required to prevent diversion (the misappropriation of prescribed drugs). Specifically, Mougey, Gaddy and the other trial co-leads argued that the pharmacy giant knowingly filled red-flagged prescriptions without investigating them, thereby opening the floodgates to permit a free flow of prescription opioids into New Mexico.

New Mexico will use the Walgreens settlement to help abate the public nuisance caused by the opioid epidemic its pharmacies facilitated throughout the State.

The settlement news came after a two-month trial against pharmacy powerhouses Walgreens, Walmart, and Kroger. The three pharmacy giants are said to be responsible for over half the opioid pills in New Mexico, according to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, who opened the bench trial in September 2022. During the course of the trial, Walmart and Kroger paid settlements of $150 million and $85 million, respectively. Immediately prior to trial, Albertsons settled for $20 million, and CVS paid a $19 million settlement.

The State of New Mexico will also receive a portion of a national settlement with distributor defendants in the national opioid litigation–including McKesson, Amerisource Bergen, Cardinal Health, and Johnson & Johnson–in the amount of $190 million.

The news of this New Mexico settlement comes on the heels of Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart announcing that they have finalized national settlements with all other states and local governments across the country for over $13 billion.

“These national settlements will go a long way toward providing relief to local communities who have been hard hit by the scourge of opioid addiction these companies caused with their profit-over-safety mantras,” said Mougey, who was a key negotiator in the national deal.

About Levin Papantonio Rafferty

The Levin Papantonio Rafferty law firm has been representing injured people across the globe since 1955. The firm has gained national recognition as one of the most successful personal injury firms in the world and has been featured on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, and National Law Journal.

Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorneys handle lawsuits throughout the country involving prescription drugs, medical devices, medical malpractice, car accidents, and business litigation. Levin Papantonio Rafferty has earned more than$30 billion in jury verdicts and settlements, litigating against some of the largest corporations in the world.

For questions about the firm’s legal practice, call (800) 277-1193.

To interview LPR Attorneys Peter Mougey or Jeff Gaddy, contact: Sara Stephens | sstephens@levinlaw.com | 281-744-6560