Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2018: Bernie Sanders Wants Opioid Makers To Be Held Accountable
Last week, Bernie Sanders introduced legislation, known as the known as the Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2018, which focuses on opioid makers deemed responsible for the opioid epidemic by imposing fines and penalties for deceptive marketing practices.
The bill includes terms such a ban on opioid marketing that does not state the risk of addiction. Companies that violate this can be fined 25% of profits earned for the sale of opioids.
The bill also establishes liability for drug company executives who contribute to the opioid crisis. They could face up to 10 years in prison, and pharmaceutical companies who are found responsible for the epidemic could be charged with a fine of $7.8 billion.
Sanders, according to Reuters:
“At a time when local, state and federal government are spending many billions of dollars a year, those people will be held accountable and asked to contribute to help us address the crisis. It shouldn’t just be the taxpayer that has to pay for the damage that they did.”
At the time of this writing, there were no co-sponsors of the legislation, which comes after numerous cities, states and counties who have been stricken by the crisis have filed their own lawsuits seeking retribution.
In 2007, Purdue Pharma paid fines of more than $600 million after pleading guilty to charges of misleading the public about oxycodone’s addictive potential.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 over 63,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. Of those, the majority (42,000) were found to have either prescription or illicit opioids in their system.
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of overdoses from fentanyl doubled, according to the CDC. Fentanyl is a drug similar to heroin but up to 50 times more powerful. Autopsies for both Prince and Tom Petty revealed fentanyl was at least partly responsible for their deaths.
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