Senator Markey Legislation Would Ensure Transparency and Accountability in DEA Quotas for Prescription Opioid Painkillers

For 2018, the DEA is proposing an annual quota equivalent to manufacturing 9.5 billion opioid painkiller pills

Washington (September 28, 2017) – For 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed the manufacture in the United States of the equivalent of nine billion 10-milligram pills of OxyContin. But despite this massive quantity of addictive opioid pain medication that the DEA would approve for production, there is little public information about which individual companies are manufacturing prescription opioid pills or how many. As the nation suffers from a  national public health emergency in the form of an opioid epidemic that took the lives of nearly 50,000 Americans last year, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today reintroduced legislation, the “Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness Act” (Opioid QuOTA Act), to shed light on these quotas and the secretive process by which the pharmaceutical companies gain approval to produce the deadly opioid painkillers that are taking lives all across Massachusetts and the country.
 
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.V.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
 
“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.”
 
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.
 

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