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Opioid Settlement Drags Walgreens Profits

Walgreens reported quarterly profits that was well below the year-ago period thanks largely to costs to settle with the state of Florida claims its pharmacies contributed to the opioid epidemic.

Walgreens reported $229 million in net income, or 33 cents a share, for its fiscal third quarter ended May 31. That was well off the year-ago period when Walgreens earned a net profit of more than $1.1 billion, or $1.38 per share.

“Third quarter operating loss from continuing operations was $320 million compared to operating income of $1.1 billion in the year-ago quarter,” Walgreens reported Thursday. “Operating loss in the quarter reflects a $683 million charge related to the opioid settlement with the State of Florida and higher costs related to the Transformational Cost Management Program.”

The $683 million settlement includes $620 million that Walgreens in May said will be paid “out to the State of Florida over 18 years, as well as a one-time payment of $63 million for attorneys’ fees.” Walgreens in May said the settlement includes “no admission of wrongdoing or liability by Walgreens.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the nationwide opioid crisis has led to more than a half million deaths from overdose in the last 20 years.