US retail giant Walmart posted a $1.8 billion loss in the third quarter, after a settlement resolving allegations that it contributed to the nationwide opioid crisis by failing to regulate prescriptions at stores.
But the big-box retailer, which has been contending with a dimmer profit environment this year as surging inflation squeezed households, also lifted its full-year outlook on “strong” quarterly results, adding that it continued to gain market share in the grocery sector.
The settlement will provide $3.1 billion to communities nationwide and “require significant improvements in how Walmart’s pharmacies handle opioids,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office in a statement on Tuesday.
This comes as the opioid crisis in the United States — causing more than 500,000 deaths over 20 years — triggered a flurry of lawsuits against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies.
US pharmacy chains CVS Health and Walgreens similarly reached preliminary agreements this month to pay more than a total of $10 billion to resolve opioid claims.
“Pharmacies such as Walmart played an undeniable role in perpetuating opioids’ destruction,” said James, adding that the settlement is being sent to other states for review and approval.
In a separate statement, Walmart said that it “strongly disputes” the allegations but believes the settlement will help communities in the fight against the crisis.
Walmart also reported its third quarter results on Tuesday, announcing revenues of $152.8 billion, up 8.7 percent from a year ago.
It expects its full-year adjusted profit will decline between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent — an improvement from earlier estimates.