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Retail giant Walmart proposed a multi-state $3.1 billion agreement to settle lawsuits filed b the state, local, and tribal governments nationwide. 

Funds from the settlement will go toward fighting the opioid crisis in communities across the nation. The agreement also contains “significant injunctive relief, including increased oversight, and improvements to Walmart pharmacies' policies and procedures regarding opioids,” according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. 

California will be eligible to receive up to approximately $265 million in abatement funding, according to Bonta’s office. 

“This is another step forward in our fight to hold all those who profited from the opioid epidemic accountable for the devastation they caused in California and beyond," Bonta said. “Too many lives and futures have been lost to this crisis. It's time to heal our communities. The California Department of Justice will continue to fight to support all those harmed by this public health crisis."

The settlement also includes broad, court-ordered injunctive relief requirements, including the creation of a Controlled Substance Compliance Director to help oversee the settlement’s requirements for robust oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and flag suspicious prescriptions.

The settlement mirrors similar announcements earlier this month from CVS Health and Walgreen Co., whom agreed to pay out $5 billion. Although Walmart officials say they “believe the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis,” the company disputes allegations made toward them. 

“Walmart is proud of our pharmacists and our efforts to help fight the opioid crisis. Walmart strongly disputes the allegations in these matters, and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability. Walmart will continue to vigorously defend the company against any lawsuit not resolved through this settlement framework,” the company wrote in a statement. 

In order to be finalized, the proposed settlement must gain the support of 43 states by the end of 2022, allowing local governments to join the deal during the first quarter of 2023. 

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