Federal prosecutors are investigating six pharmaceutical companies for potential criminal charges in connection with shipping big quantities of opioid painkillers that contributed to a healthcare crisis, according to regulatory filings.

Five companies have received subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York as part of the investigation: drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Mallinckrodt Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc, and distributor McKesson Corp, regulatory filings showed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the investigation on Tuesday. The newspaper said the probe was in the early stages and prosecutors were expected to subpoena other companies in the coming months, citing a source.

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A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment.

The WSJ also said distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp had received a subpoena as part of the investigation. The company said in regulatory filings that it has received subpoenas from multiple U.S. attorneys including the Eastern District of New York, but unlike the other companies, AmerisourceBergen did not specify the nature of the probe.

Shares of AmerisourceBergen, Amneal, Teva, Mallinckrodt and McKesson ended down 3% to 9%, while J&J shares were down marginally following the report. J&J’s disclosure of the investigation was reported by Reuters in October.

Teva said it was confident in its monitoring practices, which it said were designed to ensure medicines were delivered appropriately.


Sean Walton is a researcher and journalist for The Daily Sheeple. Send tips to [email protected]