(Reuters) – Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said on Thursday that it has reached a $ 683 million deal with Florida to resolve allegations that the pharmacy chain has exacerbated an opioid epidemic in the state.
The settlement includes $ 620 million to be paid to Florida over the age of 18, plus $ 63 million for legal fees.
Florida is the first state to regulate its opioid claims against major pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS Health Corp., raising more than $ 1.1 billion from the two companies.
The deal closes a lawsuit that began on April 11, after Walgreens decided not to join a $ 878 million deal with four other healthcare companies, including CVS.
Walgreens did not admit to having made any mistakes as part of the deal.
Florida has recovered more than $ 3.6 billion in opioid disputes against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies, according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. It will spend most of its money on efforts to alleviate the opioid crisis in the state.
“I̵7;m glad we were able to end this monumental litigation and walk past the courtroom,” Moody said on Thursday during a news conference.
CVS Health Corp. previously agreed to settle with Florida for $ 484 million, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Abbvie Inc.’s Allergan unit and Endo International PLC agreed to pay $ 194.8 million, $ 134.2 million and 65 million dollars. Everyone denied any wrongdoing.
Prior to the settlement, Walgreens had argued that it should be immune from being sued based on a $ 3,000 settlement it reached with Florida in 2012.
Florida had called Walgreen’s position “absurd”, according to court transcripts, and said the 2012 settlement dealt with only a single record-keeping violation.
Pasco County Court Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd agreed with Florida, and the trial began while the Walgreens appealed her verdict.
The nationwide opioid crisis has led to more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the past two decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed against drug manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies over the crisis, including allegations that they downplayed the risks of abuse and overdoses, and were lax in monitoring where the pills ended up.