Health and Fitness, Park Forest

Attorney General Madigan Urges that Drug Manufacturers and Distributors be Accountable for Opioid Oversupply

Attorneys General Argue DEA Should be Able to Issue Immediate Suspension Order

Chicago —(ENEWSPF)—November 16, 2017

By: Rosemary Piser

Prescription and illegal opioids are commonly abused because they are so addictive (Source: CNN)

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 43 other Attorneys General, sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to repeal a 2016 federal law demanding registered drug manufacturers and distributors that have willfully contributed to the nation’s oversupply of opioids be held accountable.

The Attorneys General believe that the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016” (P.L. 114-145) has severely limited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) response to the opioid crisis. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. Since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have died from overdoses involving opioids.

The letter says in part:

“In the midst of this deepening public health crisis – at a time when our nation needs every available weapon at its disposal to combat the opioid epidemic, the Act effectively strips the Drug Enforcement Administration of a mission critical tool, namely, the ability to issue an immediate suspension order against a drug manufacturer or distributor whose unlawful conduct poses an immediate danger to public health or safety. We urge you to repeal the Act so that the public is protected and drug manufacturers and distributors may be held accountable for their actions.”

The Attorneys General are currently investigating several opioid manufacturers to determine whether they have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids. There also is an investigation as to what role these companies may be playing in creating or prolonging the country’s opioid epidemic.

In August 2016, Attorney General Madigan filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics Inc. alleging that it deceptively marketed and sold Subsys, a highly addictive opioid drug intended for use by cancer patients to some physicians who prescribed the drug for off-label uses like back and neck pain. Madigan reached a settlement with Insys in August 2017 for nearly $4.5 million.

In addition, in September 2016, thirty-five Attorneys General filed an antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, over allegations that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors, forcing people to pay exorbitant prices while the companies realized more than $3 billion in profits..

Read today’s letter here.