DeSaulnier calls for investigation into Purdue Pharma and overprescribing of opioid painkillers

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Ted Lieu (CA-33) called on House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to initiate an immediate investigation into the egregious overprescribing of opioid prescription painkillers and the inaction of Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies that may be aware of inappropriate opioid distribution by bad actors.

Recent reports by the Los Angeles Times exposed that Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyCotin, collected extensive evidence on the overprescribing and illegal trafficking of the substance for more than a decade, yet the company failed to notify the appropriate federal and state authorities. During the course of their inaction, sales of OxyCotin at some pharmacies increased by over 1400 percent. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and simultaneously so have sales of these prescription drugs.

“Despite receiving evidence from pharmacists and its own employees regarding suspected criminal trafficking of opioids, Purdue Pharma reportedly refused to take action and continued to engage in irresponsible practices that may have violated the law. In California, I was a leader in the fight to improve the state prescription drug monitoring program to prevent overprescribing by physicians and doctor shopping. Congress has a responsibility to investigate pharmaceutical companies that work around these reporting systems, ignore reports of illegal activity, disregard patient safety for the sake of profits, and endanger the public health,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier.

“I am troubled to learn of Purdue Pharma’s inappropriate opioid distribution practices. Reports indicating Purdue Pharma knowingly disregarded evidence of criminal drug trafficking of its drug reveals the company’s clear negligence for patient safety, medical ethics, and legal responsibilities all for the sake of profit. The fact that the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic is cause for serious concern and we must hold those responsible accountable. As a member of the House Oversight Committee, I urge the Committee to initiate an investigation into this matter,” said Congressman Ted Lieu.

Click here to read a full copy of the letter sent to Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

To read complete coverage of Purdue Pharma by the Los Angeles Times click here.

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