Walgreens Boots Alliance will pay $230 million to San Francisco over multipleyears in a settlement around the retailer’s role in the city’s opioid epidemic. The payments will include $57 million in the first year, which the city will use to help mitigate the impact the opioid crisis has had on its citizens.
“San Francisco has been dealing with the impacts of opioids for years, including the need for direct treatment and support for those struggling with addiction,” said London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco in a statement. “But we’ve also had to deal with associated impacts of opioid addiction, such as the need for community ambassadors and other neighborhood support. This funding secured by the City Attorney [David Chiu] will help us to maintain and expand key programs in these areas with solutions that we know are working, like treatment beds, dual diagnosis beds, abstinence-based programming and transitional housing. We will incorporate the plans to use this funding in our upcoming budget, which is currently being finalized and must be submitted to the Board of Supervisors by the end of the month.”
Chiu called the Walgreens settlement the largest ever awarded to a local government in the years of opioid litigation nationwide. Prior to the Walgreens settlement, his office had brought in a total of $130 million to the city through settlements with other companies involved in the litigation. Without this litigation, San Francisco’s share of the national opioid settlement would have been just $15 million.
Walgreens reportedly said that it “disputes liability” and did not admit fault, according to a statement seen by Reuters.
Walgreens isn’t the only major retailer facing lawsuits regarding the role it may have played in the ongoing opioid crisis, which has led to more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the past two decades. Walmart and CVS also have faced litigation from across the country. As of November 2022, states and municipalities had filed more than 3,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies, according to CNN.