CANTON — St. Lawrence County may soon be receiving settlement money upward of $780,000 from Walmart, Walgreens and CVS due to prescriptions relating to the opioid crisis.
In 2017, the county joined a class action lawsuit with multiple municipal entities against pharmaceutical companies, drug manufacturers and distributors.
Purdue Pharma, as well as Abbott Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and others, were found to have caused damages to people and communities as a result of the usage and prescription of oxycodone to the general public.
At Monday night’s county Finance Committee meeting, County Attorney Stephen D. Button presented a resolution to authorize and approve a settlement agreement between Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and the county, “with respect to an action related to the opioid crisis.”
“For the last several years we’ve been involved in litigation associated with the impact of misconceptions of opioid distribution in our communities,” Mr. Button said. “Several settlements are referenced in this resolution, but we’ve been given the opportunity to join in on the Walmart, Walgreens and CVS settlement as well.”
According to the resolution, Walgreens has agreed to pay all plaintiffs a combined $5.7 billion over 15 years. The county would receive $313,393.54 of the $5.7 billion over the course of 15 years.
CVS has agreed to pay all plaintiffs a combined $5 billion over the course of 10 years and the county would receive $291,935.55 during that time. Walmart will be paying plaintiffs $3 billion over six years and would be paying the county $184,434.75.
“The amount that would come in is actually not a large amount compared to some of the other contributors,” Mr. Button said. “However, cumulatively to date, we’re over $4 million on resolutions associated with the opioid epidemic and that does not include the Purdue Pharma settlement.”
Mr. Button said that if the county were to receive the Purdue Pharma settlement, the county would be receiving more than $8 million in settlement money relating to the opioid crisis.
“The $8 million would need to be spread out, some as quickly as immediate distribution and others are over the course of 18 years,” Mr. Button said. “It gives us a long period of recovery.”
Mr. Button explained that some of the settlements have restrictions on what they can be spent on such as recovery programs, expenses related to opioid response or future abatement.
The Finance Committee voted in support of the resolution and the full board of legislators will be voting on the resolution Monday during the full board meeting.
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