COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and a team of negotiators have set the table for a national agreement that would hold Walmart accountable for its role in the opioid-addiction crisis and provide $3.1 billion to participating states, cities, counties and other local governments for recovery efforts.
Yost and 15 other attorneys general – in partnership with attorneys representing local governments in their respective states — worked out the preliminary deal, which stems from Walmart’s failure to properly oversee the dispensing of opioids from its roughly 5,000 pharmacies nationwide.
“Anytime we can get a worldwide company like Walmart to implement systematic changes that will benefit Ohioans long-term, I’d say that’s a significant win,” Yost said. “This resolution brings meaningful relief to our communities in need. Let’s put this money to good use.”
The settlement stems from investigations by Yost and the other state attorneys general into Walmart’s distribution of fraudulent and suspicious prescriptions.
As part of the settlement, the retail giant would also be required to make robust improvements in the oversight of its pharmacies.
The money will be divided by the states that sign on to the agreement and distributed to local governments, with Ohio expected to receive more than $114 million. The funds must be used to provide treatment and recovery services to people struggling with opioid use disorder.
States have until the end of 2022 to sign on to the agreement, with a minimum of 43 states required. Local governments will then have the first quarter of 2023 to join the deal.
“This agreement puts financial incentives in place that could make a real difference in the lives of Ohioans,” Yost said. “I hope other companies will follow Walmart in reaching a national agreement.”
AG Yost has worked continuously to set Ohio and its subdivisions up to receive more than $1 billion for opioid recovery and abatement. The final amount will be determined based on participation in settlement agreements from cities, counties and other local governments. The money will be distributed through the OneOhio model.
Joining Yost in leading the Walmart negotiations were the attorneys general from North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas.