$1.2 billion payout allows for 'full resolution' of claims
CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. today said it has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to U.S. states, local governments and Native American tribes to settle the majority of claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic through its lax oversight of its pharmacy sales.
That settlement would allow for “full resolution” of all claims on behalf of those parties, Kroger said in a press release.
The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability, the company said.
“Kroger will continue to vigorously defend against any other claims and lawsuits relating to opioids that the final agreement does not resolve,” the company said in the release.
Kroger will pay up to $1.2 billion to states and local governments as well as $36 million to Native American tribes over 11 years.
The company also announced today that it took a $1.4 billion charge related to the settlements and associated legal fees in its fiscal second quarter. The company reported quarterly financial results reflecting a decline in earnings in the three months to August 12 that was partly due to opioid settlement costs.
State and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against drug companies and wholesalers accused of facilitating an oversupply of prescription drugs that contributed to the opioid crisis.
Other large retail companies also announced nationwide opioid settlements within the past year.
Walgreens Boots Alliance agreed to pay just under $5 billion to states, local governments and tribes to resolve all opioid claims. The pharmacy retailer also reached a opioid-related settlement with West Virginia.
CVS Health agreed to pay $5 billion to states, local governments and tribes, and reached a settlement with West Virginia.
Walmart last year agreed to pay $3.1 billion to settle claims of U.S. states and local governments. The retailer also reached a settlement with West Virginia.