This year, the DEA approved the manufacture of the equivalent of 14 billion pills of OxyContin

Washington (July 14, 2016) – In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approved the manufacture of the equivalent of 14 billion 10-milligram pills of OxyContin. From 2006 to 2016, the DEA increased by almost 150 percent the amount of oxycodone, the main ingredient in the painkiller OxyContin, that can be authorized for manufacture in the United States. Despite the massive quantity of addictive opioid pain medication that is being approved for production, there is almost no public information about which individual companies are manufacturing prescription opioid pills or how many. As the nation grapples with a prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that is taking more than 30,000 lives a year, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced legislation, the “Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness Act of 2016” (Opioid QuOTA Act), to lift the veil of secrecy that covers these quotas and sheds light on the secretive process by which the DEA authorizes production of the deadly painkillers devastating the country.

“The availability of prescription opioids in the United States begins with the DEA,” said Senator Markey. “The DEA is allowing Big Pharma to flood our streets with addictive opioid pain medication with almost no oversight or accountability. As families all across Massachusetts and the country lose loved ones to addiction and overdose, the public has the right to know which companies are manufacturing opioid painkillers, how many, and why the DEA has set these quotas. Ultimately, we need to reduce the amount of oxycodone and hydrocodone that DEA approves for manufacture each year and hold Big Pharma accountable for manufacturing a product that is leading to the deaths of hundreds of people every day.”


A copy of the Opioid QuOTA Act can be found HERE.


Specifically, the legislation requires the U.S. Attorney General to make available through DEA’s website the quotas for an opioid painkiller issued to a registered manufacturer, as well as that manufacturer’s actual use of the quota. The bill also makes 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.


Senator Markey is a Congressional leader in combatting the opioid epidemic. He has introduced numerous pieces of legislation to fund and expand opioid addiction prevention and treatment programs, as well as legislation mandating education on safe prescribing for any prescriber of opioid medication. He succeeded in getting the Food and Drug Administration to agree to his request to reassess the way it considers the risks of addiction and misuse when it evaluates the safety of new opioids.