Jan 27, 2020

AmerisourceBergen CEO earned $14.7 million in company stock gains in 2019

Steven Collis, CEO of drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, made $14.7 million in his company's 2019 fiscal year based on the actual realized gains on his stock, according to new company disclosures.

The big picture: That amount was down from the $18.7 million Collis earned in 2018.

  • But it's still above industry average and comes as the company is mired in thousands of lawsuits that allege it contributed to the opioid epidemic by not properly monitoring the flow of painkillers.

The big picture: AmerisourceBergen distributed 13 billion opioid pills throughout the country from 2006 through 2014, according to the Washington Post — a fact that has put AmerisourceBergen and other distributors in court.

By the numbers: A $1.9 million cash bonus was included within Collis' total. That bonus was based solely on three adjusted financial metrics and did not factor in quality or the opioid litigation.

  • An AmerisourceBergen spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether the bonuses were appropriate given the company's legal troubles, but said in a statement the company's compensation structure does "not incentivize unnecessary risk-taking."

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Electronic health record vendor took kickbacks from opioid maker

A fictitious electronic medical record. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Electronic health record company Practice Fusion will pay $145 million after federal prosectors said the vendor accepted $1 million in kickbacks from an unnamed opioid manufacturer, and in return, Practice Fusion engineered its software to encourage more prescriptions of that company's opioids.

Why it matters: Several Practice Fusion executives not only booked the kickbacks as revenue, but also agreed to help peddle more of the company's painkillers during the height of the country's opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of people.

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Keep ReadingArrowJan 28, 2020

Opioid death rate in the U.S. decreased in 2018

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Opioid deaths in the U.S. decreased in 2018 after years of steady increases, while the U.S. life expectancy ticked up for the first time in four years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

Between the lines: The effort to combat the opioid epidemic appears to be working, although the problem is far from solved.

Go deeperArrowJan 31, 2020 - Health

How rebates cut — and distort — government drug spending

Data: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; MACPAC; Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

State and federal spending on prescription drugs is dramatically outpacing inflation, even after accounting for rebates, according to a new analysis of federal data.

The big picture: Rebates lower drug spending, as their proponents argue. But they also reinforce a system that's incredibly complex and costly — especially for people who take a lot of medications and have to pay sizable amounts out of pocket.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020