June 9, 2023  |  Press Releases

With this settlement, the total opioid litigation recovery for the State of New Mexico is more than $1 billion.

DALLAS – Today, the nationally recognized attorneys at Baron & Budd, with shareholders Daniel Alberstone and Mark Pifko serving as co-lead counsel along with Peter Mougey and Jeff Gaddy from Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty; Anthony Majestro from Powell & Majestro; and Luis Robles of Robles Rael Anaya, announced a record-breaking $500 million settlement agreement with pharmaceutical giant Walgreens concerning the company’s role in the opioid epidemic that has ravaged the State of New Mexico. This Walgreens settlement in New Mexico is one of the largest separate settlements obtained from a single opioid defendant in the country and the largest settlement obtained from a single defendant by the attorney general in the State’s history.

Baron & Budd represented the State of New Mexico during a two-month bench trial, where it was argued that Walgreens failed in its “corresponding responsibility,” a duty under state and federal law requiring pharmacies to recognize suspicious, red flag prescriptions, and refuse to fill them if they are not issued for a legitimate medical purpose. As a result, Walgreens dispensed millions of potentially harmful opioids into communities across New Mexico.

This record $500 million settlement between Walgreens and the State of New Mexico is in addition to the $274 million in settlements previously obtained by the trial team last fall from Albertsons, CVS, Kroger, and Walmart, bringing New Mexico’s total recovery from the retail pharmacy defendants alone to a staggering $774 million. When added to the amounts paid to New Mexico by other defendants over the course of the State’s opioid litigation, including from AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Johnson & Johnson, the trial team brought in more than $1 billion to the State.

“During the trial, witness after witness testified about the devastation wrought by the opioid crisis in New Mexico and the profound harm caused by opioids in communities across the state. Indeed, this isn’t just another case for our team. When we heard about what was happening, we knew something had to be done. Now, after more than five years of litigation and six weeks of trial, we are confident that this record settlement positions New Mexico to turn the tide on this deadly epidemic,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder and co-lead counsel in the trial, Mark Pifko.

The settlement requires Walgreens to pay for abatement of the opioid epidemic created by the oversupply of prescription opioids into the State. The financial burden caused by the influx of opioids in New Mexico has increased the costs of medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, law enforcement and childcare.

Retail pharmacies, such as Walgreens, are required under federal and state law to refuse to fill opioid prescriptions with red flags indicating that the drugs may not be for a legitimate medical purpose, unless the red flags can be resolved. Additionally, when they distribute opioids through their own distribution network, pharmacies like Walgreens are required to monitor, detect, investigate, and report suspicious opioid orders.

“Too many lives have been lost or ruined as a result of the opioid crisis. The burden on families, both financially and emotionally is immeasurable. That said, this settlement is a major step in our effort to hold companies like Walgreens accountable for their egregious conduct, and we expect the outcome of this case will not only cause these corporate wrongdoers to change their behavior, but, most importantly, put New Mexico on a path to recovery,” said Baron & Budd Shareholder and co-lead counsel in the trial, Dan Alberstone.

Over more than a decade, opioid painkillers have flooded the country by corporate actors that have placed profits over patient safety, resulting in an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths and addiction. Prescription opioid supply and dispensing is a primary driver of the opioid epidemic in New Mexico, and increased volume is causally associated with the explosion of heroin and fentanyl use in the State, and related harms, including the high rates of OUD (opioid use disorder), overdoses, opioid-related-mortality, hospitalization rates, foster care placements, child exposure to parental opioid abuse, and NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome).

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 which 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.

For more information visit,

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.

News Articles

View All

  • Get Answers Now

    Get a free case evaluation to help determine your legal rights.

  • Receive emails from Baron & Budd?
  • Receive text messages from Baron & Budd?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.