McKesson Supports Declaring Opioid Epidemic a National Emergency

October 23, 2017

CEO calls for fast-tracking of recommended solutions to public health crisis

SAN FRANCISCO, October 23, 2017 — Today, John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson, issued the following statement:

“McKesson supports President Trump’s indication that he intends to declare the opioid epidemic a ‘national emergency.’ This vital exercise of executive authority will provide much needed resources to help tackle the opioid crisis in new ways and with a deepened sense of urgency.

There is no doubt the opioid epidemic is one of our nation’s most pressing public health crises. Its impact on families and communities across the country is heartbreaking, and McKesson has been and continues to be committed to being a part of the national solution.

We believe that the President and Administration senior officials should drive progress on forward-looking solutions. Top on the list of needed policy changes are the set of solutions detailed in McKesson’s March 2017 paper—“Combating the Opioid Abuse Epidemic: A Shared Responsibility that Requires Innovative Solutions”:

  • Fully leverage data analytics to identify patients most at risk and integrate a National Patient Safety System into the pharmacy medication dispensing process, as recommended by the not-for-profit National Council for Prescription Drug Programs
  • Require e-prescribing for all controlled substances
  • Require all payers and providers to use opioid management programs
  • Harness the Food and Drug Administration’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies Program
  • Improve information sharing among state-level Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
  • Permit partial refills to reduce risks associated with an excess of unused pills

Additionally, we support the following:

  • Requiring the DEA to work closely with industry and the pain community to revisit their annual quota on the production of opioids. The DEA should promptly re-set the annual limit (and/or revisit the DEA’s quota for individual manufacturers)
  • Enacting a national policy to limit the supply of opioids prescribed, such as PhRMA’s recent proposal to limit pills to a seven day supply for acute pain treatment

We believe these changes can be acted upon quickly. Some may require federal or state legislation or regulatory action.

Early next month, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis is expected to release its findings and recommendations. I am hopeful that body too embraces the needed solutions we’ve outlined in this statement and the letter we sent to the Commission last month.

This complicated, multi-faceted public health crisis cannot be solved by any one participant. It needs to be addressed through a comprehensive approach that includes the doctors, patients, pharmacists, insurance companies, government payers (such as Medicaid and Medicare), distributors, manufacturers, law enforcement and regulators.

McKesson delivers life-saving medicines to millions of Americans each day. We stand ready to work with all stakeholders to implement new solutions to tackle the problem of opioid abuse. We are committed to engaging with all who share our dedication to acting with urgency to address this epidemic and working together to end this national crisis.”

About McKesson Corporation

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 5th on the FORTUNE 500, is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology. McKesson partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers, providers, pharmacies, governments and other organizations in healthcare to help provide the right medicines, medical products and healthcare services to the right patients at the right time, safely and cost-effectively. United by our ICARE shared principles, our employees work every day to innovate and deliver opportunities that make our customers and partners more successful — all for the better health of patients. McKesson has been named the “Most Admired Company” in the healthcare wholesaler category by FORTUNE, a “Best Place to Work” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and a top military-friendly company by Military Friendly. For more information, visit

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