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Bitter Pills - The US Opioid Crisis and Potential Impact on Healthcare Companies

The US opioid crisis generates near-daily news headlines as opioids continue to kill Americans and draw many more into addiction. Companies that make and distribute prescription opioids find themselves under an uncomfortably hot spotlight as lawsuits and accusations of complicity pile up. In this paper, we parse out the ways different segments of the healthcare ecosystem have been implicated in the crisis, and to what degree. We draw on our MSCI ESG Controversies research and systematic assessment methodology to take an objective look at each company’s degree of alleged involvement and enable comparisons between different market players. Finally, we draw on our industry research to understand individual companies’ revenue exposure to opioids, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total revenues, to model their positioning in the face of production restrictions and large scale litigation.