Medical Devices and Prescription Drug Policy

Senate Dem introduces bill to repeal controversial opioid law

Legislation introduced by a top Senate Democrat would repeal an Obama-era bill that critics say has dramatically restricted the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on opioid distributors suspected of wrongdoing.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said her legislation is being introduced in response to a joint Washington Post-“60 Minutes” investigation.


The investigation concluded that a handful of members of Congress who were allied with the country’s major drug distributors — including Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), who is set to become the next chief of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy — helped to pass an industry-friendly bill that weakened DEA enforcement efforts against distributors.

“Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities,” McCaskill said.

McCaskill earlier this year launched an investigation into the sales and marketing practices of opioid manufacturers. She is trying to determine the role that manufacturers have played in the country’s opioid crisis.

The investigation has already shown that a major pharmaceutical company lied and bypassed normal processes to push opioids on to patients who didn’t need them.

In August, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, but the administration has been noticeably quiet on the issue since. 

Tags Claire McCaskill DEA drug enforcement Opioid epidemic
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