Alabama Senate candidate profits from companies sued for role in opioid crisis

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Tommy Tuberville and his wife own more than $30,000 worth of stock in pharmaceutical companies that have been sued over opioid distribution.

Alabama Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville has said fighting drug addiction is one of his top priorities. But his latest financial disclosures show he and his wife have significant holdings in stocks of companies that have profited from opioids.

In October, the former Auburn University football coach was interviewed by the website Talk Business & Politics in his native Arkansas about his candidacy and cited the drug crisis as a top priority.

"A lot of people are hurting, and one thing if we don't stop, if we don't stop the influx of drugs in this country we're not going to make it. We don't really realize how many people we're losing," Tuberville said. "Last year, we lost 60- to 70,000 people for overdosing on drugs."

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That same month, Tuberville expressed concern about opioid addiction in comments to the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama. "I saw that being a coach. We had kids I coached ending up in the last 10 years being hooked on opioids simply because they were pain killers," he said. "It all goes back to educating people what you can do, what you can't do, what drugs you are taking. It is really out of control." He noted that opioid companies were now "paying a price" by being sued over the opioid addiction crisis.

Three such companies are pharmaceutical giants AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Each has completed or nearly completed settlement agreements with state and local governments over its role in distributing opioids in the states.

A review of Tuberville's personal financial disclosure form, filed with the Senate earlier this month, shows that he and his wife Suzanne jointly own tens of thousands of dollars' worth of stocks in those three companies.

The pair listed holdings of between $16,002 and $65,000 worth of stock in Johnson & Johnson, which yielded them at least $201 in dividends last year. They reported $15,001 to $50,000 in AmerisourceBergen stock, which also yielded $201 or more in dividends. They also said they owned less than $1,001 worth of Teva Pharmaceuticals stock.

Tuberville's campaign did not respond to inquiries for this story.

Tuberville faces former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 14 Republican primary runoff. The winner will challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones this November.

Hundreds of Alabamians have died in recent years from causes related to opioids. Opioids accounted for nearly half of the state's overdose deaths in 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.