Cardinal Health says it will continue to fight opioid lawsuits

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Cardinal Health posted a fourth-quarter profit helped by a 6% increase in revenue in its drug distribution operations.

The Dublin-based company said Thursday that it earned $194 million, or 65 cents per share, for the April 1-June 30 quarter compared with a loss of $1.2 billion, or $3.76 per share, for the same period in 2018 when the company recorded a steep charge for its medical-devices unit.

Adjusted for one-time charges, the company earned $334 million, or $1.11 per share, well ahead of analyst estimates of 93 cents per share.

The results boosted Cardinal shares by 2.2%, or 95 cents, to $43.70 in early trading Thursday. The shares hit $41.03 Wednesday, the lowest level in the past year.

“The fourth quarter capped off a year of progress for Cardinal Health,” Mike Kaufmann, Cardinal’s CEO, said in a statement. “During fiscal 2019, we delivered on our overall commitments and made significant strides on key initiatives that position us for growth in an evolving health-care environment. While we still have work to do, we look forward to building on this foundation in the coming year and continuing to enhance the value we provide to our customers and their patients.”

Revenue for the quarter totaled $37.4 billion, a 6% increase from the same period in 2018. Revenue for its drug distribution operations was $33.4 billion for the quarter.

For the year, the company reported profit of $1.4 billion, or $4.53 per share, on revenue of $145.5 billion.

Cardinal, along with other pharmaceutical wholesale distributors, drug makers, pharmacies and other companies, have been accused of fueling the nation’s opioid crisis.

Cardinal previously said it has been named as a defendant in more than 2,000 lawsuits related to the distribution of prescription opioid pain medications. Counties, municipalities and other government agencies have filed cases along with hospitals, health-care groups and individuals.

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