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McKesson Announces New Initiatives, Launches Foundation to Help Fight Nation’s Opioid Epidemic


SAN FRANCISCO, March 29, 2018 — McKesson Corporation today announced a series of company initiatives to help fight the opioid epidemic, including the formation of a foundation dedicated to combatting the crisis. McKesson is committing $100 million to the newly-formed foundation. The effort is part of the company’s ongoing mission — delivering better care for patients.

“At McKesson, we are deeply concerned by the impact the opioid epidemic is having on families and communities across our nation. That’s why we are taking new steps to help combat the epidemic,” said John Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer of McKesson. “These new initiatives will provide additional tools to fight abuse, combat overprescribing, and increase doctor and patient education. We believe our investment and continued actions can have a positive impact, particularly when done in partnership with others in the healthcare industry, as well as with government policymakers, administrators, and regulators.”

New Foundation

The new non-profit organization is expected to focus on education for patients, caregivers, and providers, addressing key policy issues, and increasing access to life-saving treatments, such as opioid overdose reversal medications. The foundation’s work will be overseen by a board comprised of a majority of outside directors including healthcare and subject matter experts. Details on leadership, strategic priorities, and criteria for giving will be announced in the coming months. This new foundation is distinct from McKesson’s existing non-profit foundation whose key focus is on supporting better care for cancer patients.

Company Initiatives

With deep expertise in pharmaceutical distribution, analytics, and information technology, McKesson is committed to using its industry knowhow to help address some of the multitude of issues contributing to the opioid epidemic. McKesson will work with pharmacies, policymakers, prescribers, manufacturers, and others to advance the following initiatives:

  • Expedite development of a national prescription safety-alert system. To identify patients who are at risk for opioid overuse, abuse, addiction, or misuse, the company will invest in the development of a national system that uses prescription information to provide real-time alerts to pharmacists and, ultimately, prescribers, indicating when additional patient information may be needed before dispensing opioids. The system design will address shortcomings of existing state and federal clinical decision support systems and save time for pharmacists and prescribers. Implementation of the system is contingent on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) exercise of its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) or other authorities. The company is nonetheless moving forward with development of the system.
  • Facilitate e-prescribing. To reduce fraudulent or counterfeit prescriptions, during 2019 the company will stop selling opioids to customers1 who cannot accept e-prescribing of controlled substances and will engage with those customers who may need to make this transition. The company continues to advocate that Congress require mandatory e-prescribing of opioids.
  • Support limited-dose packaging. To make it easier for doctors to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense in smaller doses, and to reduce potential for unused product, the company will proactively engage with all opioid manufacturing partners this calendar year to develop plans for limited-dose packaging.
  • Fast-track distribution of new, non-opioid pain medications. To improve access to medicines, the company will work with manufacturing partners to facilitate immediate availability on a national basis of non-opioid pain medication once approved by FDA.
  • Provide complimentary pharmacist training on opioid overdose reversal medications. The company will offer pharmacists complimentary training by independent medical experts on how to administer medications such as naloxone.

In addition, the company will develop and make available an annual report that examines the progress of these company initiatives with the purpose of sharing learnings and insights with the public.                                                    

Ongoing Company Efforts

These new efforts are in addition to the work McKesson is already doing to help protect the security of the nation’s pharmaceutical supply chain, advance smart policies, and support opioid addiction prevention and treatment-focused organizations, including: 

  • Continuously enhancing its diversion prevention program. The company has and continues to make significant investments in its anti-diversion program – officially known as the Controlled Substance Monitoring Program (CSMP). The program, run by a team of highly-experienced experts, monitors customer orders, blocks shipments when necessary, and reports suspicious orders to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). All controlled substances are locked, monitored, and stored in DEA-approved spaces, accessible only by specially-designated employees.
  • Promoting a secure supply chain. McKesson has increased efforts to help collect unused medicines from customers and distribution centers so they can be safely processed out of the supply chain. Over the last three years, the company has worked with reverse distributors to safely remove an average of 7.2 million products a year.
  • Advocating for policy change at the national and state-level. McKesson actively advocates for public policies that will help address the opioid epidemic, including the 2015 passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). CARA contained provisions for preventing and treating addiction, and McKesson supports more robust funding of those policy proposals. Please visit the company’s website for more information on the company’s opioid policy recommendations, including recommendations championed last year that have been widely supported by policymakers seeking to address the multitude of causes of the epidemic, as well as new policy solutions recently added by our expert task force.
  • Partnering with organizations advancing opioid solutions. McKesson is a proud supporter of the Opioid Safety Alliance, Allied Against Opioid Abuse, and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.


For more information about McKesson’s ongoing efforts to address the opioid epidemic, please visit:


About McKesson Corporation

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 5th on the FORTUNE 500, is a global leader in healthcare supply chain management solutions, retail pharmacy, community oncology and specialty care, and healthcare information technology. McKesson partners with pharmaceutical manufacturers, providers, pharmacies, governments and other organizations in healthcare to help make the right medicines, medical products and healthcare services available to the right patients at the right time, safely and cost-effectively. United by our ICARE shared principles, our employees work every day to innovate and deliver opportunities that make our customers and partners more successful — all for the better health of patients. McKesson has been named the “Most Admired Company” in the healthcare wholesaler category by FORTUNE, a “Best Place to Work” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and a top military-friendly company by Military Friendly. For more information, visit

1 Exceptions to be made for certain populations


PR Contact:
McKesson Corporation
Kristin Hunter Chasen, (415) 983-8974 (General and Business Media)

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