Attorney General DeWine, 43 Attorneys General Urge Congress to Restore DEA Powers to Investigate Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors

Updated 22 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and 43 other attorneys general sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to repeal a law they say has limited the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ability to hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for contributing to the nation's opioid epidemic.

In the letter, the attorneys general say the "Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016" diminishes the DEA's ability to suspend and begin proceedings to show how a manufacturer or distributor engaged in unlawful behavior that endangers public health. The law and its effects on opioid diversion investigations was profiled in a recent joint investigation by 60 Minutes and the Washington Post.

"In the midst of this worsening epidemic, we need laws that enable our enforcement community to hold the manufacturers and distributors accountable for the opioids they have knowingly poured into our communities," said Attorney General DeWine."I encourage our congressional leaders to repeal this Act."

In addition to preventing enforcement, the AGs contend in the letter that an allowance for drug makers to file a "corrective action plan" that must be reviewed before show cause proceedings limits enforcement efforts and puts the public at risk. 

In May, Attorney General DeWine sued five of the nation's leading drug manufacturers on behalf of the state of Ohio. More recently, he released a 12-point emergency plan called "Recovery Ohio" and gave the drug manufacturers and distributors 30 days to begin discussions about paying their fair share for the crisis in Ohio. 

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