UNITED HEALTHMARKETS MEDICARE MEDICAL METHODS INC.
announced that it has spent $9.4 billion on opioid medication and emergency care over the past five years to treat more than 4 million opioid overdose victims.
The drugstore chain, which has more than 50 locations in the U.K., Germany, France and Australia, said it had spent more than $2.7 billion on medication and $1.4 in emergency care in the United States since January 2018.
The chain’s latest quarterly report, filed on Thursday, showed that it had nearly doubled its sales for the year.
The company said it expects the drugstore to continue to be a leader in prescription-drug sales and distribution, and said it is planning to invest $1 billion more in prescription and non-prescription drugs over the next two years.
It said it expected the U of H’s opioid-related overdose death rate to decrease from about 1,100 deaths per 100,000 people in 2018 to about 600 deaths per 10,000 in 2021.
The opioid crisis has left hundreds of thousands of Americans with chronic pain, and the company said that its customers’ health and well-being was one of the top reasons they had bought the pharmacy chain’s products.
“We believe that prescription opioids are the best available treatment option for opioid addiction,” United Health chief executive Michael Peevey said in a statement.
“They help patients who are struggling with chronic conditions and help families who are coping with the death of a loved one.
Our opioid prescriptions have been growing faster than our supply and demand, and our customers are more than happy to help us meet that demand.”
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said last week that there had been a rise in the number of people dying from overdoses of prescription opioids in the last three years.
More than 6.7 million people have died from opioid overdoses since 2018, according to the UNAIDS.
The number of prescription drug overdose deaths in the country hit 1.5 million in 2018, a jump of about 20,000 from a year earlier.
The agency said there was a slight increase in the rate of opioid-overdose deaths during the year between April and October, but there were also significant increases in the numbers of people who died from overdoses in 2018.
More: More U.C. Berkeley students die in class brawl in April The UAH study also showed that the company’s U.H.M.U. (hospitality and retail) business grew at its fastest pace in 2021, with a 5.2% year-on-year increase in sales.
The growth came as the company began expanding its retail pharmacy business in the second half of the year, and added a number of stores in Australia, the U-K.
and the Netherlands.
The U-H.B.C., which operates more than 100 U.A.M.-branded pharmacy locations, also expanded its U.B.-branded brands in 2021 to expand its distribution network.
“As a leader on our health, education and wellbeing mission, we are proud to continue investing in our business and continuing to offer the best products and services to our patients,” UnitedHealth CEO Michael Pees said in the statement. ____ ____