Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner and the national coalition Investors for Opioid Accountability have thwarted an attempt by pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen to deny shareholders’ efforts to obtain information about the company’s response to the U.S opioid crisis.
«Opioid-related deaths in Rhode Island are a public health epidemic. The State and federal government must work together with the non-profit and the private sectors to curb opioid misuse and abuse,» said Treasurer Magaziner. «The pharmaceutical industry bears tremendous responsibility and must act to address this crisis.»
Shareholders are also requesting information on whether AmerisourceBergen’s board has clawed back compensation from any senior executive due to misconduct.
The AmerisourceBergen proposals were filed by fellow members of Investors for Opioid Accountability (IOA), an investor coalition that was established out of growing concerns that opioid risks may threaten shareholder value and have profound long-term implications for the economy and society.
AmerisourceBergen appealed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking to deny investors the opportunity to weigh-in on the issue. The SEC denied AmerisourceBergen’s appeals, allowing shareholders to consider the proposals later this year.
«By denying AmerisourceBergen’s attempt to stonewall concerned investors, the SEC has recognized that the opioid epidemic is a significant policy issue with a real impact on investors,» said Treasurer Magaziner.
AmerisourceBergen, the nation’s third largest drug distributor, paid $16 million in March 2017 to settle a lawsuit brought by West Virginia for allegedly contributing to the overdose crisis in that state.