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In a press conference Wednesday morning, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced his office has reached a settlement with the national pharmaceutical chain Walgreens for $83 million.
“Today, we’re announcing that the state of West Virginia is settling for $83 million for its claims against Walgreens. We have signed the agreement and we have sent that out to the political subdivisions for their review and approval,” Morrisey said. “As of right now, every single one of the settlements that we brought in has been ratified, and we’ve made the participation numbers that are required under the agreement. So we have made incredible progress.”
The settlement resolves a lawsuit that alleged many pharmacy chains failed to maintain effective controls as a distributor and dispenser that contributed to oversupply of opioids in the state.
Morrisey also announced a June 2023 trial scheduled against The Kroger Company. That’s the last remaining major pharmacy the state of West Virginia is seeking legal action against.
“And let me say that the allegations we have made against Kroger are quite serious. Kroger, the only entity now to not settle with the state of West Virginia, we’ve alleged that they failed to report any suspicious orders to the DEA and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy,” Morrisey said. “ We are alleging that Kroger effectively had no suspicious order monitoring policy for a significant amount of the time period covered. And so we’re going to pursue this. I take my job very seriously in enforcing the laws of the state. I’m asking Kroger to come forward in a very serious manner and to address these issues.”
Morrisey defended his office’s decision to reject national settlements in an effort to secure more funds for West Virginians.
“We’ve doubled up the amount that we would have obtained through the National settlements. I’m not telling you that there wasn’t some risk involved in that,” Morrisey said. “And we went to trial and we pushed this. But I think that we believed in the merits of our case, we were willing to go to trial over it.”
Wednesday’s announcement brings the total West Virginia dollars brought in from opioid litigation to more than $950 million, according to the Attorney General’s office.