According to recent reports, Texas is investigating pharmaceutical company McKesson Corporation, which Governor Greg Abbott negotiated a $9.75 million grant with last year to expand into north Texas.
With the Trump Administration’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a health emergency in the U.S., authorities are reportedly stepping up efforts to investigate the companies producing prescription painkillers:
According to the Texas Tribune, the Lone Star State is now part of a coalition of 40 states looking into the drug epidemic within their borders, with Attorney General Ken Paxton announcing the coalition began serving investigative subpoenas to drug companies in September.
The fact this particular company is being investigated places Gov. Abbott in a difficult spot, according to the Tribune, due in part to a deal he negotiated to get the company to expand its operations in his state.
Texas counties suing McKesson claim the drug manufacturer downplayed the risks of its product and did not track suspicious orders, which they say brought a massive influx of opioid painkillers into their jurisdictions.
The grant Abbott arranged is, according to records, the largest McKesson received since 2000 by any U.S. state or local government, worth an estimated $10,000 for each job it brought.
If the state of Texas filed suit against McKesson, proponents of the investigation agree, the impact of such a deal could come into question, especially if the ongoing investigation finds McKesson contributed to Texas’ opioid crisis.
McKesson spokeswoman Kristen Chasen said the following in a statement:
“We certainly agree that the opioid epidemic is a national public health crisis, and we’re cooperatively having lots of conversations with AG Paxton and the others involved in the multi-state investigation.”
A mounting death toll and addiction rates leading President Trump to declare a state of emergency concerning opioids last week include both prescription painkillers and illegal narcotics, like heroin.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 33,091 people died of an opioid drug overdose in 2015, and the rate of overdoses has been steadily rising since 1999.