NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will receive more than $400 million over 15 years after Walgreens, CVS and two drug manufacturers agreed to finalize settlements to resolve lawsuits that alleged the companies contributed to the opioid crisis in the U.S.
The money will come from a much larger $17.3 billion in combined agreements involving more than a dozen states. Tennessee joined a broad coalition of states and thousands of local political subdivisions to reach settlements with five companies: CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Allergan and Teva.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said a final agreement with Walmart hasn't been announced yet because of "different processes" for finalizing the settlement, which he said is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
The four companies that finalized their agreements will also be required to follow certain rules as part of the settlement. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is being required to halt any opioid marketing and ensure it has systems in place to prevent drug misuse. Drugmaker Allergan will be required to halt sales of opioids for the next 10 years.
CVS and Walgreens have agreed to require its pharmacies to monitor, report and share data about suspicious activity with opioid prescriptions.
Skrmetti said the money is expected to start flowing to state and local governments by the end of 2023, which will be used to fund programs for things such as evidence-based opioid treatment and recovery services, expanding overdose-reversal drug education for communities, and preventing the over-prescription of opioids.
"This court-ordered injunctive relief will help ensure a crisis like this does not happen again," he said.
In 2021, following a historic $26 billion multistate opioid settlement with Jansenn/Johnson & Johnson and three of the largest U.S. drug distributors, Tennessee established the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council to oversee how to best spend the money received from lawsuits related to the opioid crisis. The recent agreements with CVS, Walgreens and others are part of a second wave of opioid settlements.
To date, Skrmetti said Tennessee has received more than $1 billion from these opioid settlements.
In February, the TOAC announced county governments would receive the first round of payments from the Jansenn/J&J settlement agreements. 35% of the money is being paid out directly to counties in the form of opioid abatement trust funds, while the remaining 65% will be distributed to communities through a competitive grant application process overseen by the TOAC. The state council said it is still trying to develop the application process for grants, so it is not currently accepting any applications.
The TOAC will host its next meeting on June 23 at noon at West Tennessee Healthcare's city/county boardroom in Jackson, which people can attend in person or via Zoom.