CHARLESTON, WV— Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin called on the state of West Virginia to block the sweetheart settlement Patrick Morrisey is trying to cut with McKesson days before the election. Manchin is asking Governor Jim Justice not to accept the $35 million dollar settlement because it doesn’t come close to covering the damage caused by McKesson.
Manchin released the following statement:
On Thursday, the McKesson Corporation, the largest player in the opioid epidemic, is holding a board meeting in San Francisco to approve a settlement with the state of West Virginia which Patrick Morrisey has negotiated.
McKesson’s revenues are over $500 million per day, and right now Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is rushing to make a one-time settlement with McKesson for just $35 million to try and score political points before the election.
This will be a mugging in broad daylight unless West Virginians speak up. I’m asking that Governor Justice, every member of his cabinet, leaders in the state legislature, every Delegate and state Senator, and every West Virginian to let your voice be heard and speak out to reject this awful deal.
Tell McKesson that West Virginia is not for sale, and that we won’t be bought off for pennies on the dollar.
West Virginia is getting ripped off if we accept this settlement of just $35 million dollars, and we all know it.
I won’t stand silent while another drug company takes advantage of our people. The opioid industry has destroyed thousands of lives with their business model of shipping millions of pills into our small towns. Letting them off this easy is downright criminal.
Under Patrick Morrisey’s watch, West Virginia settled for just pennies per pill with the same drug companies that Morrisey used to lobby for.
When Morrisey settled with Cardinal Health, West Virginia only got $20 million.
When Morrisey settled with AmerisourceBergen, West Virginia only got $16 million.
Compare that to the tobacco settlement our state received, of $1.8 billion.
Let me put this in perspective, our previous attorney general settled with Big Tobacco for $1.8 billion, that breaks down to $1,000 for every man, woman, and child in our state.
And now, Morrisey wants to accept just $35 million from McKesson, which is equal to $20 per person.
Morrisey has a history of giving his former employers, the drug companies, sweetheart settlements that have devastated West Virginia.
West Virginia is owed hundreds of millions of dollars for the damage that’s been done from companies like McKesson and Cardinal Health. He’s agreed to one-time settlements that don’t amount to a slap on the wrist.
Keep in mind, these companies make hundreds of millions of dollars per day.
Just look at the data of damage being done on an annual basis:
West Virginia’s criminal justice system has a $77 million burden each year in connection to opioids.
Our state taxpayers have to pay $291 million in additional health care costs per year because of the opioid epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is costing West Virginia’s economy $8.8 billion a year.
In the last 5 years, 3,321 West Virginians have died because of opioid overdoses. You can’t put a price on the life of a human being.
West Virginia can’t afford to let Morrisey cut a sweetheart settlement with McKesson.
I’m speaking out because I will not watch our state get screwed over again by Patrick Morrisey because he wants to ram this through before the election.
This is a horrible deal at any time, but Morrisey is playing politics. It makes me sick and every West Virginian sick.
We need this money for drug treatment and to help heal our state.
We can stop this if Governor Justice and his administration steps up to block this deal and demands a fair amount in comparison to the damage that’s been done to the people of West Virginia.
Our state is owed hundreds of millions of dollars to be made whole from the carnage caused by McKesson.
We need to hold out for a fair settlement. We owe it to the 3,321 West Virginians we’ve lost to this epidemic the past 5 years, and their loved ones. This is just too important to let politics get in the way.
I’m asking for the people of West Virginia to contact the Governor and the Attorney General and tell them to reject this horrible, horrible deal that’s about to be signed.