The retail company joins CVS, Walgreens, and others in pricey settlements over lawsuits implicating them in selling powerful opioids to customers. The extensive sums derived from all these settlements will be given out over a certain period of time, and officials are currently deciding how they will be distributed, the Associated Press reported.
Walmart said it “strongly disputes” accusations that its pharmacists had improperly filled prescriptions with highly addictive opioids and clarified that the settlement is not an admission of guilt or liability.
“Walmart believes the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with aid reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid settlement to date, subject to satisfying all settlement requirements,” the statement read.
The sum of $3.1 billion is about 2% of Walmart’s quarterly revenue.
The recent suits against the retail giants mark a turning point in litigation regarding the opioid crisis. Previously, it wasn’t known whether pharmacies could be held accountable for their role in sparking the crisis.
In a proposal earlier this month, CVS offered to pay nearly $5 billion to settle opioid lawsuits, while Walgreens offered to pay about the same amount.
Over 500,000 people in the United States have died due to opioid overdoses over the past 20 years.