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.
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Copies of the SEC responses to the proposals are available at:
Investors for Opioid Accountably (IOA) is a diverse coalition of 40 treasurers and comptrollers, asset managers, faith-based, public and labor finds with over $1.4 trillion in assets. The coalition is engaging with opioid distributors and manufacturers on issues including board oversight of business risks related to opioids.
Members of the Investors for Opioid Accountability:
The Socially Responsive Industry Group of 1919 Investment Counsel
AEGON Asset Management
American Federation of Teachers
Benedictine Sisters, Boerne, Texas
Bricklayers & Trowel Trades
California State Teachers' Retirement System
Calvert Research and Management
Catholic Health Initiatives
City of Philadelphia Public Employees
Congregation of St. Joseph
Connecticut State Treasurer, Denise L. Nappier
CtW Investment Group
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
Diocese of Springfield, IL
Domini Impact Investments
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
JLens Investor Network
Mercy Investment Services
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Office of New York City Comptroller, Scott M. Stringer
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Rhode Island General Treasurer, Seth Magaziner
School Employees Retirement System of Ohio
Segal Marco Advisors
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Socially Responsible Investment Coalition
UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust
United Church Funds
Walden Asset Management
West Virginia State Treasurer, John Perdue
Zevin Asset Management, LLC