Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing three drug companies for answers about their role in the opioid crisis.
The panel’s leaders sent letters to three companies that make opioids, Insys Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Purdue Pharma, requesting a briefing with the committee and answers to questions about how the companies marketed opioids and whether they looked the other way when they saw evidence of abuse of their products.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has long been under scrutiny for misleadingly marketing its product as nonaddictive. The company pleaded guilty in 2007 to misrepresenting the drug’s addictive qualities.
The committee’s letter to Purdue questions whether the company actually changed its marketing behavior after 2007.
The letter also points to evidence in media reports that the company knew the drug was being abused earlier than 2000, when officials have said they learned about the problem.
“If Purdue personnel were in fact aware of reports of OxyContin being abused prior to 2000, then that may call into question testimony company executives provided to Congress, including before this Committee,” the lawmakers write.
Earlier this year, Purdue said it would stop marketing opioids to doctors and laid off its sales force.
The letter was signed by the panel’s Chairman, Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world MORE (R-Ore.), as well as ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers discussing potential compromise to revive drug pricing measure House Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug MORE (D-N.J.) and Reps. Gregg HarperGregory (Gregg) Livingston HarperEthics panel reports Rep. Lamborn misused official resources Ethics watchdog: 'Substantial' evidence GOP lawmaker improperly spent funds, misused position to help brother Congress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk MORE (R-Miss.), Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteNebraska Republican tests positive for COVID-19 in latest congressional breakthrough case The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Maryland Democrat announces positive COVID-19 test MORE (D-Colo.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithHillicon Valley — Biden's misinformation warning Lawmakers call on tech firms to take threat of suicide site seriously, limit its visibility With overdoses at a record high, we must crack down on fentanyl-related substances MORE (R-Va.) and Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorNearly 200 Democrats back EPA in Supreme Court emissions case Florida Democrats call on DeSantis to accept federal help to expand COVID-19 testing Hillicon Valley — Dems press privacy groups over kids' safety MORE (D-Fla.).
The committee has been investigating the opioid crisis for months, including looking into “pill dumping,” where drug distributors flooded small towns, particularly in West Virginia, with millions of opioid pills.