May 02, 2019

Manchin: Sweetheart Settlement With McKesson Sells Out West Virginia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today released the following statement on West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Governor Jim Justice’s horrific and inadequate settlement with McKesson Corporation for flooding West Virginia with opioids and killing thousands of West Virginians.

“It’s no surprise to me that Patrick Morrisey and Jim Justice have allowed this type of thievery and have cut a sweetheart deal with McKesson that sells out West Virginia out of the billions of dollars in damages that our state and our people have endured. This is exactly what I said would happen and is exactly what they denied they were going to settle for in October 2018. Then Chief Deputy AG Anthony Martin said: ‘Contrary to Manchin’s statements, we have received no offer and there has been no scheduling of a Friday press conference by our office. Anything said to the contrary is utterly dishonest…’ 

“To give a sense of how horrific this settlement is, when the State of Oklahoma settled with their opioid lawsuit, they received $270 million, nearly 10 times what our Governor and Attorney General agreed to take. Oklahoma’s rate of opioid-related deaths is 80% lower than West Virginia, but they got almost 10 TIMES MORE MONEY. When we settled our tobacco lawsuits when I was still in state government, we got $1.8 billion for the State of West Virginia. How in the world, do Justice and Morrisey think 1/10th of what Oklahoma got is a great deal? McKesson has shipped over 100 million opioid pills into West Virginia, and this epidemic has done $8.8 billion in damage annually. The Governor and Attorney General either don’t know how to negotiate, don’t understand the scope of this problem or don’t care about the impact this epidemic has had on the state of West Virginia. Either way, they have failed our state.

“Last October, I called on Jim Justice to deny the settlement but it appears that he didn’t care enough to fight for the money that West Virginia deserves. I spoke out then and I’m speaking out now that it makes me sick that the very people that are supposed to protect West Virginians are letting a drug distributor screw us over. It makes me sick and I know it makes every West Virginian sick, especially those who have lost someone to this drug epidemic or knows someone who is struggling with drug addiction now. This disgraceful settlement is a shameful injustice to us all. 

“In 2018, McKesson made $208.4 billion. How can Patrick Morrisey and Jim Justice look West Virginians in the eye and tell them $37 million is fair? It’s pennies on the dollar to what McKesson cost our state. Just like Morrisey and Justice know this is a sweetheart deal for McKesson, West Virginians know firsthand what this epidemic has cost our communities. I stand with them in their anger at this disgraceful settlement.”