House Passes Two McKinley Bills to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Bipartisan Bills Address Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment, Stop Pill Dumping

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the House of Representatives passed 10 bipartisan bills addressing health care and opioid abuse, including two bills lead by Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.).

The Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act (H.R. 3878) requires drug wholesalers to report and stop suspicious orders of prescription drugs. This will prevent massive amounts of pills flooding communities.  

The Fairness in Orphan Drug Exclusivity Act (H.R. 4712) will improve access to innovative treatments for substance use disorder by preventing drug companies from abusing the system to block new products from the market and prevent competition.

“Understandably, our nation has focused on COVID-19, but the opioid epidemic is still raging across America. In fact, overdose rates are skyrocketing,” said Rep. McKinley. “Congress needs to walk and chew gum at the same time. We can’t ignore the opioid epidemic and must build on the work we’ve done in the past to improve access to treatment and stop deadly drugs from flooding our communities.”

“Last congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee conducted an investigation that found massive evidence of pill dumping and highlighted failures by the drug industry and government. One example in the report was that nearly 9 million pills were distributed in just two years to a single pharmacy in West Virginia. We need to make sure that never happens again,” added Rep. McKinley.

Background:

The suspicious orders legislation was drafted based on recommendations from a report issued by Energy and Commerce Republicans in December 2018 entitled “Red Flags and Warning Signs Ignored:

Opioid Distribution and Enforcement Concerns in West Virginia.”

The full report is available here.

The Washington Post and HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia, undertook a year-long legal battle for access to the DEA’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, known as ARCOS. The data reviled that 76 billion pills were distributed across the country during the seven-year time frame ending in 2012. For more of the data and an interactive map click here.

Earlier this week, another bill sponsored by Rep. McKinley passed the House and is now on the way to President Trump’s desk after already passing the Senate.

The three bills sponsored by McKinley that passed the House this week:

  • Fairness in Orphan Drug Exclusivity Act, H.R. 4712. This bill closes a loophole that blocks pharmaceutical competition and prevents innovative treatments for opioid use disorder from coming to market. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) is the lead sponsor, along with Reps. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Buddy Carter (R-GA), and McKinley.

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