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Payouts for Kentucky's $317M opioid settlement with firms like Walgreens, CVS to start within months

A view of the front display of a CVS pharmacy on 8th Ave., in Manhattan, N.Y., on Dec. 17, 2015.
Bryan Anselm for ProPublica
A view of the front display of a CVS pharmacy on 8th Ave., in Manhattan, N.Y., on Dec. 17, 2015.

This is part of a broader pattern of settlements after state and local governments sued pharmaceutical businesses for making the United States’ addiction crisis worse.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced this week that he expects Kentucky will start receiving payments later this year from national, multibillion-dollar legal settlements with Walgreens and CVS as well as drug manufacturers Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan.

He said the commonwealth will receive more than $317 million over 15 years.

“While nothing can bring back the lives and livelihoods lost to the opioid epidemic, I hope these settlements will give Kentuckians some relief and help prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again,” Cameron said in a news release.

The four companies were all sued for playing roles in the sprawling, decades-long opioid epidemic. Many other states, including Indiana, joined Kentucky in the litigation.

Cameron said the businesses they sued also will make corporate policy changes as part of the settlements.

For example, Allergan can’t sell opioids for 10 years. Meanwhile, CVS and Walgreens agreed to make changes to how they monitor and share data about suspicious activity involving opioid prescriptions.

This batch of settlement money comes on top of the several hundred million dollars Kentucky has secured through other opioid-related lawsuits.

Morgan is LPM's health reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.