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More opioid makers are going bankrupt - and it's showing up in the alternative data

1 month ago by Jon Marino in Markets

Everyone got their tiny violins ready? Ok, great. John Kapoor, former head of Insys Therapeutics, is headed to the joint. Our story, below, is from 2019 when Insys was still facing pressure from federal investigators. 

Furthermore, other opiod makers are going bankrupt. The same companies that have been loading American communities up with the equivalent of elephant tranquilizers for every pulled calf and strained shoulder are now facing the wrath of lawsuits and lawmakers out to put them on the street before America's dope problem grows worse. And, it's showing up in the alternative data. 

Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals' ($NYSE:MNK) lenders began organizing with restructuring counsel several weeks back, Debtwire reported, and today Bloomberg followed up with a report that it may restructure in part because it is facing billions in legal liabilities from lawsuits tied to the pills that once made it so profitable.

The company that was once called by the DEA "kingpin within the prescription drug cartel" churned out about $18 billion in sales stemming from opioids and other drugs it produced. Today, shares plunged about 40% on the news it would possibly go bankrupt, an interesting coincidence, because job postings at the company have also fallen 40% this year. 

It's not clear if Mallinckrodt was the worst of the drugmakers, and it's certainly not the first to wonder if bankruptcy is the easiest way out of the problems it has created for itself and its shareholders. 

Insys Therapeutics did stuff like bribing doctors to push their pills, at least before investigative journalist Roddy Boyd caught crooked executives, exposed them, shipped them off to prison, and watched as their company went bankrupt. 

Both job listings and headcount have plunged at Insys - although it still employs more than 200 people as it winds down, according to data. Before Insys Therapeutics business went belly-up, the drugmaker was hiring dozens of new staffers - by this summer, the number had declined to literally one open job and Thinknum decided to put our servers to better use.

Similarly headcount plunged at Insys as Boyd's reporting continued. It's safe to say that for Mallinckrodt, with nearly 4,000 staffers according to its LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Headcount (not shown), the opioid maker will experience something very similar, and very soon. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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