AG Hawley Leads Coalition in Support of Stiffer Penalties for Irresponsible Drug Manufacturers

May 21, 2018, 13:24 PM
May 21, 2018, 13:22 PM

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, along with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, led a bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory attorneys general to call on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and stem the diversion of their drugs to the illicit market.

“Diversion of prescription opioids has devastated communities in our states,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter. “The consequences of turning a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders cannot merely be a cost of doing business.”  

The coalition sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, the committees of jurisdiction, urging them to pass the S.2456, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and S.2440, the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act.

Opioid manufacturers have a duty to ensure that they take steps to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market. Among other provisions, CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act increase penalties on drug manufactures 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.

“We must do all in our power to end the opioid epidemic,” Hawley said. “I urge legislators to pass this legislation that will hold opioid manufacturers accountable. 

Attorney General Hawley sued three large opioid manufacturers in June of 2017. He later announced investigations into seven additional manufacturers and three opioid distributors.  

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

More information on CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act on