Walgreens Agrees to Record $80 Million Settlement Over Distribution of Painkillers

By Scott Kagan, Esq

Walgreens Pharmacy has agreed to an $80 million settlement with the federal government. Months after the DEA accused Walgreens of committing an unprecedented number of record keeping and dispensing violations, Walgreens agreed to pay for their greed. Walgreens was accused of violating the Controlled Substance Act by negligently allowing narcotics, particularly Oxycodone and other painkillers, to be distributed to drug abusers and allow its entry into the black market.

Walgreens, which operates over 8,000 stores across all 50 states, The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, has admitted as part of the settlement to failing to uphold obligations as a DEA registrant. President of Pharmacy, Health and Wellness, Kermit Crawford, stated Walgreens will work harder to improve oversight and improve the dispensing of controlled substances. Walgreens has also agreed to enhance training and compliance with the Substance Control Act, by setting up a Department of Pharmaceutical Integrity.

The CDC reported that U.S. death tolls from drug overdoses have more than tripled since 1990, with more than 15,500 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2009 alone. As a result of the settlement, 6 Walgreens pharmacies and one distribution center have been forced to shut their doors, during a two year ban.