Attorney General Jim Hood and a bipartisan group of 38 other attorneys general are calling on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opioid manufacturers accountable for not identifying suspicious shipments of the drug that contribute to the overwhelming opioid epidemic in our country.
The coalition sent a letter (attached) to the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, urging them to pass S.2456, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and S.2440, the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act. Among other provisions, CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act increase penalties on drug manufacturers that fail to report suspicious transactions and maintain effective controls against diversion of their drugs to the illicit market. The bills would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation for negligence in reporting suspicious activity and double the criminal penalty to $500,000 for companies that willfully disregard or knowingly fail to keep proper reporting systems or fail to report suspicious activity.
“Opioid manufacturers can no longer get away with turning a blind eye to their contribution to the drug crisis our country is facing,” said General Hood. “They have a duty to ensure that they take steps to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market and devastating our communities. Mississippi filed suit against these companies several years ago for misleading consumers about the addictiveness of these pills, and this call to Congress is just one more step that we hope will save lives in Mississippi and across the country.”
General Hood led the nation in filing the first lawsuit on behalf of a state against multiple drug manufacturing companies for falsely marketing opioids as rarely addictive. The suit was filed in December 2015 in Hinds County Chancery Court against 17 companies. General Hood charges that the companies deceived Mississippi Medicaid, doctors, and consumers in order to boost profits at the expense of innocent victims.
More information on CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act can be found at congress.gov.
Other states signing the letter include Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia and Washington.