Pharmacies face peril without opioid settlements, Cleveland federal judge says

Birds fly past CVS Health Corp. signage in Chicago Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg

CVS Health Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance and other pharmacy chains face mounting pressure to settle thousands of government lawsuits over their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic after a federal judge warned the companies they risk financial peril.

As drug makers and distributors work to resolve similar complaints, mediation has failed with pharmacies, which are accused of ignoring red flags about suspicious painkiller prescriptions. The first trials are set to start this year, and a judge on Wednesday, April 7, may expand the number of early cases going before juries to help gauge the potential cost of settling all the cases.