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Bipartisan leaders of House panel press drug companies on opioid crisis

Bipartisan leaders of House panel press drug companies on opioid crisis
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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.

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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 WaldenPuerto Ricans may have elected Rick Scott and other midterm surprises GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing proposal Dems to ramp up oversight of Trump tech regulators MORE (R-Ore.), as well as ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower Top Dems press Trump officials for answers on pre-existing conditions Overnight Health Care: US health-care spending hit .5 trillion in 2017 | White House sought 0M more to house migrant children | ObamaCare enrollment down 10 percent from last year MORE (D-N.J.) and Reps. Gregg HarperGregory (Gregg) Livingston HarperDems cry foul in undecided N.C. race Mississippi New Members 2019 GOP lawmakers urge improvements to cyber vulnerabilities resource MORE (R-Miss.), Diana DeGetteDiana Louise DeGetteOvernight Energy: Dems seek answers on Trump climate policies | Trump officials want changes to forest management after wildfires | UN environment chief resigns House Dems demand records on Trump’s climate rollbacks Overnight Health Care: Top Trump refugee official taking new HHS job | Tom Price joins new Georgia governor's transition | FDA tobacco crackdown draws ire from the right MORE (D-Colo.), Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Conservatives blame McCarthy for Twitter getting before favorable committee Bipartisan leaders of House panel press drug companies on opioid crisis MORE (R-Va.) and Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorBipartisan leaders of House panel press drug companies on opioid crisis Overnight Health Care: Trump officials explore importing prescription drugs | Key ObamaCare, drug pricing regs under review | GOP looks to blunt attacks on rising premiums | Merck to lower some drug prices House Dems want answers on cuts to ObamaCare outreach groups 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.