In this photo illustration, the Kroger Company logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.
Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images
Kroger on Friday said it has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to U.S. states, subdivisions and Native American tribes to settle the majority of claims that it fueled the opioid epidemic through lax oversight of its pill sales.
That settlement would allow for “full resolution” of all claims on behalf of those parties, Kroger said in a release ahead of its second-quarter earnings. Still, the company said the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability.
“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
Shares of Kroger fell more than 1% in premarket trading Friday.
Kroger will pay $1.2 billion to U.S. states and subdivisions and $36 million to Native American tribes over 11 years. The company expects a $1.4 billion charge related to the settlements and associated legal fees during the second quarter.
State and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against drug companies and wholesalers accused of contributing to the oversupply of prescription drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic, resulting in a plethora of settlement deals.
More than 564,000 people died from overdoses involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids, from 1999 to 2020, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walgreens settled with West Virginia in January for $83 million, while Walmart and CVS settled with the state last fall: Walmart for $65 million and CVS for $82.5 million.
Last August, Rite Aid settled with West Virginia for up to $30 million.
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