Some McKesson Corp. directors must face an investor lawsuit accusing them of failing to honor promises to ensure internal systems for spotting suspicious opioid shipments functioned properly.
Two shareholders of the San Francisco-based company can press claims the distributor’s board was asleep at the switch when it came to overseeing such shipments after a 2008 settlement spawned by the firm’s inept monitoring of the painkillers, a federal judge in Oakland, California, ruled.
The suit raises legitimate questions about whether directors ignored “multiple red flags” about opioid shipments even after agreeing to step up compliance oversight as a result of a deal with the government, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken wrote in a May 14 order. She also threw out claims against three directors and dismissed insider-trading allegations.
The ruling comes as McKesson faces a wave of suits from states, cities and counties that say it contributed to the U.S. opioid epidemic by failing to half suspiciously large shipments of the painkillers to pharmacies to boost profits. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi became the latest to sue the company Tuesday.