Rep. Cicilline, Sen. Markey Reintroduce Legislation to Address Over-Manufacture of Opioid Painkillers, Spur Transparency in Approval Process at DEA

WASHINGTON, DC – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the manufacture of the equivalent of almost six billion 10-milligram pills of OxyContin for 2021. That is 18 pills for every man, woman, and child in the United States. But despite federal approval of such a massive quantity of addictive opioid pain medication, there is little public information identifying the individual companies that are manufacturing prescription opioid pills or how many. 
 
Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today reintroduced the Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness (QuOTA) Act, legislation that would shed light on these quotas and the secretive process by which pharmaceutical companies gain approval to produce the deadly opioid painkillers. Specifically, the legislation requires the U.S. Attorney General to make both the amount of opioid painkillers allotted to be produced by a registered manufacturer, as well as that manufacturer’s actual use of the quota, publicly available through the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) website. The bill would also disclose the applications submitted to DEA by registered manufacturers that request a particular quantity of active ingredients, as well as year-end reports on actual quota use, which DEA now treats as confidential.
 
“The opioid crisis has ravaged far too many communities, and few states know the impact of the opioid crisis like Rhode Island,” said Rep. Cicilline. “This crisis is driven by powerful pharmaceutical companies that profit off addiction to their prescription painkillers – we need accountability and transparency. This legislation will shine a light on the number of pills being manufactured, and make it easier for us to address this epidemic and save lives.”
 
“Prescription opioids are often the gateway to opioid addiction and overdose,” said Senator Markey. “We simply do not need to manufacture this many supercharged painkillers as we battle an opioid epidemic that began in part because of these drugs. The public has the right to know which drug companies are manufacturing opioid painkillers, how many, and their justification for asking the DEA to approve their quota requests. Only by returning accountability to the system by which we authorize and manufacture these painkillers each year will we have a chance of ending this deadly scourge of opioid addiction, overdose, and death.”
 
A copy of this bill can be found HERE.
 
The legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Seth Moulton (MA-06) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
 
The Opioid QuOTA Act is endorsed by Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and Public Citizen.

 
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