By Gunjan Banerji
Shares of medical distributors and other health-care companies took a hit on Wednesday, and their pain may not be short-lived.
AmerisourceBergen Corp. fell 4%, while Cardinal Health, Inc. shed 3.8%. McKesson Corp. lost about 2.7% in recent trading. All three performed worse than the broader U.S. stock market on Wednesday, which recorded small declines.
Their declines come after news reports revealed new government data on information about opioid sales and distribution before 2013.
Wednesday's drop puts a pause on solid performance for the medical distributors so far this year.
AmerisourceBergen has gained 14.8% in 2019, while McKesson is up 26%. Cardinal has edged higher about 1% this year.
Other pharmaceutical companies have also had a rough week. CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. simultaneously fell on Wednesday.
Morgan Stanley downgraded pharmaceutical companies Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Endo International PLC to "underweight" earlier this week, saying that they are exposed to opioid litigation. Teva lost 6.3% on Wednesday while Endo fell about 3.1%. Shares of both have lost more than 50% this year.
"Opioid litigation is just getting started. There are thousands of lawsuits, and we see the potential for negative litigation developments over the next few years," wrote Morgan Stanley analysts in a note on Monday.
Write to Gunjan Banerji at Gunjan.Banerji@wsj.com