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San Francisco to get $267M in settlement from companies accused of fueling opioid crisis

PIX Now - Afternoon Edition 9/5/23
PIX Now - Afternoon Edition 9/5/23 08:23

SAN FRANCISCO — In a landmark settlement agreement, two major pharmaceutical companies and a retailer will pay San Francisco over $267 million in the next 15 years to resolve allegations they were complicit in fueling the city's opioid crisis.

On Tuesday, the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a settlement agreement between the City and County of San Francisco and Walgreens Co., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and Allergan Finance, LLC. 

The three companies have agreed to pay a collected $267 million in settlement fees for a 2018 lawsuit, with Walgreens taking the largest share at a whopping $229,610,002. 

The lawsuit alleged these companies violated the unfair competition law by falsely and misleadingly marketing opioids as safer than they actually were and distributed large quantities of opioids in the city "despite knowledge of the growing epidemic," reads the ordinance.

Each of the three settlement agreements mandates a special fund where the proceeds will be deposited, and each will have slightly different eligible use requirements, said City Controller Ben Rosenfield. He added that the city will receive much larger payments in the early years of the settlement. 

Supervisor Dean Preston said these funds will help the city address the opioid crisis both in the short and long-term, and urged city administration to ensure that there is transparency in their use.

"While this is certainly not a crisis that exists only in San Francisco, I think we all know that one does not have to travel very far from this building to see some of its devastating effects," Preston said during the meeting.

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