Baron & Budd Obtains $274 Million in Settlements with Retail Pharmacies in New Mexico Opioid Lawsuit

December 22, 2022  |  Opioids, Press Releases

The oversupply of opioids into the State of New Mexico by retail pharmacies contributed to the public health crisis in the state resulting in alarming addiction and overdose rates.

DALLAS – Today, the nationally recognized law firm Baron & Budd, P.C. announced a combined $274 million recovery from settlements in the State of New Mexico’s opioid litigation against four of the nation’s largest retail pharmacies, Albertsons, CVS, Kroger, and Walmart. Baron & Budd serves as counsel for the State of New Mexico in the litigation.

These pharmacy chains were facing legal allegations concerning the creation of a public nuisance and violations of the Unfair Practices Act. According to the suit, the pharmacy chains dispensed tens of millions of potentially harmful opioids into the State.

The opioid crisis has dramatically affected the State of New Mexico causing major impacts to public health, public safety, and harms to children and families. For the last decade, the drug overdose rate in New Mexico has been one of the highest in the nation with almost every county experiencing a higher drug overdose death rate than the rest of the country. As a result, the State of New Mexico has incurred substantial costs for medical care, addiction treatment, rehabilitation, and law enforcement.

“When it comes to the opioid crisis, New Mexico is one of the hardest-hit states in the country and we are pleased that Albertsons, CVS, Kroger, and Walmart decided to resolve the litigation and contribute money to fund the State’s recovery,” said Mark Pifko, Baron & Budd Shareholder. “These settlements, along with nearly $200 million recovered from other defendants in New Mexico’s opioid litigation, will help the State work towards its long-term goal of abating the opioid epidemic in the State.”

Under state and federal laws, retail pharmacies are required to recognize flags indicating that a prescription may not have been written for a legitimate medical purpose and if the red flags cannot be resolved, pharmacies must refuse to fill the prescription. Most retail pharmacies also served as DEA-registered distributors at one time or another and as distributors, they were required to have systems in place to identify, report, and halt the shipment of suspicious opioid orders presented to their warehouses. According to the State’s lawsuit, the Defendants “were keenly aware of the oversupply of prescription opioids through the extensive data and information they developed and maintained as both distributors and dispensaries.”

In addition to the work that led to these settlements, Baron & Budd attorneys recently completed a seven-week trial concerning New Mexico’s claims against Walgreens. Experts testified at trial that it will take billions of dollars to fund New Mexico’s opioid abatement efforts. The parties in the case await the Court’s trial ruling.

Baron & Budd Opioid Litigation Team

Baron & Budd attorneys represent municipalities, states, cities, counties, and tribal nations across the country in the complex opioid litigation. The firm started the opioid multidistrict litigation (MDL) and is part of the team who filed one of the first lawsuits against the drug distributors. Our attorneys co-led the first AG trial to be completed against the pharmacies and have helped communities hold pharmacies, distributors, and manufacturers accountable for the opioid epidemic in the United States.

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About Baron & Budd, P.C.

Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 45 years of experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron & Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse and significant as dangerous and highly addictive pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, asbestos and mesothelioma, California wildfires and environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices, e-cigarettes, motor vehicles, federal whistleblower cases, and other consumer fraud issues.

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