San Francisco to get $230 million from Walgreens amid “enormous hardship” from the drug epidemic

San Francisco will receive nearly $230 million as a result of a landmark opioid lawsuit settlement it reached with Walgreens, an infusion of financing that will help the city fight a devastating drug crisis.

City Attorney David Chew said Wednesday that the city will receive settlement money over 14 years, with the first $57 million due by June 2024. Most of the settlement — $175 million — will be paid within eight years, officials said.

“Opiates have wreaked havoc across our nation, causing immense suffering and untold harm,” Chiu said in a statement.

About $29 million of the settlement will pay the city’s legal fees to the various private law firms that have represented the city in litigation.

The Mayor of London Breed and the Board of Supervisors will determine exactly how the remaining settlement money is spent. But Chiu’s office said the money will be used to address the city’s opioid crisis, which has worsened in recent years with the spread of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl among drug users. About 2,300 people have died in San Francisco from drug overdoses since 2020, nearly twice the number of deaths the city has seen from COVID-19. Overdoses rose 41% in the first three months of this year alone, and officials still don’t know exactly why.

In his statement, Breed thanked Chew and his deputies for “the outstanding work as part of this groundbreaking lawsuit.”
“Their relentless fight in our national crisis of opioid addiction deserves our thanks and, most importantly, it will help us continue our work to address the devastating effects of opioids on our city and country,” Breed said.

San Francisco secured the settlement after suing opioid manufacturers, distributors and distributors in 2018. By the end of last year, Walgreens was the only defendant not yet settled with the city. US District Court Judge Charles Breyer ruled in August that the corporate pharmacy chain could be responsible for much of the city’s severe opioid epidemic.

On Wednesday, Chiu said the $230 million settlement is the largest any city has ever received from a single company as a result of opioid litigation. By comparison, West Virginia settled with Walgreens for $83 million, even though it won a total of more than $950 million in all of its opioid lawsuits, the Associated Press reported in January. The total settlements for the opioid lawsuits in San Francisco from all parties, including Walgreens, are about $350 million.

If San Francisco hadn’t sued Walgreens on its own and instead relied on settling a national opioid lawsuit with the company, the city’s stake would have been about $15 million, according to Chiu — 15 times less than the settlement it reached.

“No amount of money will restore the lives lost due to this pandemic,” Chiu said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall. We grieve for our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. But one of the things we can do as lawyers is fight for justice to ensure that those who cause harm are held accountable.”

Federal Judge Breyer found that between 2006 and 2020, Walgreens distributed more than 100 million prescription opioid pills but did not do enough to report suspicious prescriptions or prevent the pills from being used in illegal and harmful ways.

“They were more interested in profit than in pursuing their legal obligations,” Chiu said. “They didn’t give pharmacists time to do their due diligence — pressure pharmacists to fill, fill, fill.”

Walgreens said in a statement issued by its spokesperson that it continues to dispute liability and has not admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.

“We have never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor have we distributed them to ‘grain mills’ and Internet pharmacies,” the company said. “The settlement allows us to focus on our mission of reimagining health care and well-being for our patients, customers and communities. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragic crisis.”

Legal fees aside, San Francisco is required to spend settlement money on improving the opioid crisis, but the city has plenty of discretion to decide exactly what that looks like.

In her statement, Breed said she believes the money can help the city expand programs that offer “solutions that we know work,” including substance abuse treatment beds, dual diagnosis beds for people with substance abuse and mental health problems, and programs that focus to abstain from sex. Transitional housing. The mayor said she will provide more details when she presents the next budget proposal, scheduled for the coming weeks.

#San #Francisco #million #Walgreens #enormous #hardship #drug #epidemic

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top