Washington (May 8, 2019) – For 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved the manufacture of the equivalent of almost eight billion 10-milligram pills of OxyContin. But despite federal approval of such a massive quantity of addictive opioid pain medication, there is little public information about which individual companies are manufacturing prescription opioid pills or how many. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative David Cicilline (RI-01) today introduced the Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness (QuOTA) Act, legislation that would shed light on these quotas and the secretive process by which the pharmaceutical companies gain approval to produce the deadly opioid painkillers. Specifically, the legislation requires the Attorney General to make available through the DEA website the amount of opioid painkillers allotted to be produced by a registered manufacturer, as well as that manufacturer’s actual use of the quota. The bill would also make available the applications submitted to DEA by registered manufacturers requesting a particular quantity of active ingredient, and year-end reports on actual quota use, which DEA now treats as confidential.
“The DEA has recently taken necessary steps to reduce the amount of opioid painkiller medication that can be manufactured in the United States, but it must go even further or Big Pharma will continue to flood our streets with addictive medication with almost no oversight or accountability,” said Senator Markey. “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.”
“Few states know the impact of the opioid crisis like Rhode Island,” said Rep. Cicilline. “One of the chief reasons for this crisis is the powerful pharmaceutical companies that profit off addiction to prescription painkillers. This legislation will help shine a light on the number of pills being manufactured, and make it easier for us to address this epidemic.”
A copy of the Opioid QuOTA Act can be found HERE.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).