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(Reuters) — Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. reported a net quarterly loss Thursday as it took a $6.5 billion opioid litigation charge, sending its shares down nearly 2% in premarket trade.
Walgreens and rivals CVS Health Corp. and Walmart Inc. agreed in November to pay about $13.8 billion to resolve thousands of state and local lawsuits accusing the pharmacy chains of mishandling opioid pain drugs.
CVS took a pre-tax charge of $5.2 billion in its third quarter related to the settlement.
Walgreens, one of the largest U.S. pharmacies, had been relying on gains from administering COVID-19 vaccines to tide over losses from low prescription volumes due to the pandemic but has seen demand for the shots fall from the peak last year.
The drugstore chain has been looking to expand beyond its core business and spent $5.5 billion in 2021 to take majority stakes in health care providers VillageMD and CareCentrix.
In November, Walgreens said it was acquiring urgent care provider Summit Health through its VillageMD unit in a deal valued at $9 billion to expand its health care footprint.
Net loss attributable to Walgreens was $3.72 billion, or $4.31 per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 30, compared with a profit of $3.58 billion, or $4.13 per share, in the year-earlier period.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.16 per share in its first quarter, above Refinitiv IBES estimates of $1.14 a share.