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California signed onto a $5 billion multistate settlement agreement with CVS to resolve allegations that the company helped fuel the opioid crisis by failing to properly oversee the dispensing of opioids, according to Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office. 

The settlement agreement is expected to provide up to $469 million in funding to California. According to Bonta’s office, the funds will be used to combat the opioid crisis. 

"Today, we begin the year with another win in our fight to hold corporate giants to account for their role in fueling the opioid crisis," said Attorney General Bonta. "Too many people in California and beyond have had their lives and futures ripped apart by the opioid crisis. The funds from this settlement will help bring much-needed relief to our communities and will ensure CVS changes its business practices to keep such a crisis from ever happening again."

The funds will be divided among participating states and local governments to combat the opioid crisis and provide treatment and recovery services to people struggling with opioid use disorder.

Bonta’s office notes the settlement includes the following court-ordered injunctive relief requirements to help prevent this kind of crisis from reoccurring: 

  • The implementation of a Controlled Substance Compliance Program to ensure compliance with injunctive terms, to train employees, and to help prevent drug diversion;
  • A requirement to investigate and resolve prescriptions with potentially suspicious "red flags" before dispensing the drug;
  • Site visits and compliance reviews of individual pharmacy locations; and
  • An agreement to provide unblinded "867" sales data from the company's distributor to drug manufacturers, which will help identify and prevent drug diversion.

The agreement will go to local governments around the country for sign-on during the first quarter of 2023 if enough states sign onto the settlement, according to Bonta. 

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