Investor group presses U.S. drug companies on opioid controls

BOSTON (Reuters) – U.S. shareholder activists are addressing a hovering demise toll from opioid drug abuse, asking corporations that make and distribute the painkillers to evaluate the dangers their companies might face from their position within the sector.

FILE PHOTO: A used needle sits on the bottom in a park in Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S., Might 30, 2017, the place people have been arrested earlier within the day throughout raids to interrupt up heroin and fentanyl drug rings within the area, in response to regulation enforcement officers. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photograph

Leaders of a 30-fund group that features state pension officers and non secular and labor organizations plan to disclose on Monday they’ve begun submitting shareholder resolutions at 10 corporations, together with distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N) and Cardinal Well being Inc (CAH.N) and producers Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Insys Therapeutics (INSY.O).

In resolutions aimed toward annual shareholder conferences to be held in 2018 and in letters to the businesses, activists are urging unbiased administrators to evaluation and report on how the boards are managing the authorized, monetary and reputational dangers their enterprises face from their involvement with opioids.

Additionally they search company-governance reforms resembling permitting extra grounds to claw again pay from executives who inappropriately promote the medicine, or creating unbiased board chairs to offer higher oversight.

Representatives of Cardinal and Insys didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Johnson & Johnson spokesman Ernie Knewitz stated the corporate was getting ready a response to the buyers, and that the corporate had acted responsibly.

“Opioid abuse is a critical public well being concern that have to be addressed, and doing so would require collaboration amongst many stakeholders, and our firm is dedicated to working with federal, state and native officers to assist discover significant options,” he stated in an emailed assertion.

In a press release emailed by AmerisourceBergen spokeswoman Keri Mattox, the corporate stated it “welcomes a productive dialogue with all shareholders. The difficulty of opioid abuse is a posh one which spans the complete healthcare spectrum, together with producers, wholesalers, insurers, prescribers, pharmacists and regulatory and enforcement businesses.”

The assertion stated the corporate labored intently with officers “to fight drug diversion whereas supporting applicable entry to drugs.”

At an annual assembly on Nov. eight, Cardinal Well being will face a…

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