Kroger, the parent company of Fred Meyer, is the latest company to settle with the WA State Attorney General's office over claims they contributed to the 'opioid' crisis.

 Kroger will make 11 years of payments

According to information released by the AG's office:

(AG Bob) "Ferguson filed a lawsuit in December 2022 in King County Superior Court against Kroger for illegally, recklessly and negligently filling opioid orders without adequately investigating “red flags” of fraud or overprescribing. He filed lawsuits against two other pharmacies, Albertsons and Rite Aid, at the same time. The resolution will resolve Ferguson’s legal claims against Kroger."

Kroger will pay $47.6 million over 11 years, with the money going towards a variety of opioid addiction and prevention programs and local governments.

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Money from the series of lawsuits, according to the AG's office, is being used for programs:

  • "$2,000,000 is provided to the Department of Health to administer grants to local health jurisdictions for opioid and fentanyl awareness, prevention and education campaigns.
  • $4,458,000 is provided to the Department of Corrections for health care services, with $2,700,000 specifically for approved long-term injectable medication for treatment of opioid use disorder of incarcerated individuals.
  • $2,000,000 is provided to the Health Care Authority for a tribal opioid prevention campaign.
  • $3,000,000 is provided to establish three additional health engagement hub pilot program sites, and $1,500,000 is provided to establish high-intensity community-based teams serving people with opioid use disorder.
  • $400,000 is provided to increase support for EMS and fire department opioid overdose prevention efforts."

There have been noticeable critics who say physicians are also responsible for the opioid issues, while others say it's the pharmaceutical companies. Critics of the lawsuits say "big pharma" was targeted because they have deep financial pockets for lawsuits.

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Gallery Credit: Katelyn Leboff

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