Michigan reaches $338M opioid settlement with Walgreens

Walgreens has settled a massive lawsuit with Michigan, sending $338 million to the state for its roles in the opioid epidemic.

The Michigan Attorney General announced the agreement with the pharmacy chain Monday, saying it will pay out the settlement over 18 years. The agreement opens up millions of dollars to local cities and towns to use for drug addiction help and rehabilitation services. 

It's the latest in a string of lawsuits that has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.

"The opioid epidemic was born, in part, out of a concert of action by many large corporations who reaped incredible profits as a result," said AG Dana Nessel. "It is rewarding to both hold them accountable and secure much-needed funding for the continued suffering of those with opioid-use disorder."

According to health department data, 2,532 Michiganders died of a drug overdose from January to November 2022, an average of eight Michigan residents a day.

The settlement will provide approximately $200 million to Michigan over 15 years. 

Along with the Walgreens National Opioid Settlement, Michigan will receive an additional $138 million over 18 years. This settlement with Walgreens finalizes litigation that dates back to 2019, which was the first time a state sued major opioid manufacturers and distributors as drug dealers.

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Last year, Johnson and Johnson, a manufacturer of opioids, along with three pharmaceutical distributors, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, settled with the state. They agreed to pay $26 billion to fund opioid treatment and addiction prevention efforts in the nation. As part of the settlements, these companies were required to establish new protocols to prevent future negligence in manufacturing and distributing controlled substances.

Michigan has also reached agreements with Reckitt Benckiser Group, the manufacturer of opioid addiction treatment drugs, and McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm. These agreements have resulted in an extra $2.6 million and $19.5 million for Michigan.

In total, the state has brought in about $1.6 billion for combating opioid abuse in Michigan.