Attorney General Fox Urges Repeal of Law Restricting Action Against Drug Companies
HELENA – In a letter to Congressional leadership sent Monday evening, Attorney General Tim Fox joined a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urging Congress to repeal a law restricting punishment of prescription drug manufacturers and distributors. The plea from the state attorneys general comes during a time of national outcry over increased overdose deaths related to prescription opioids.
Passed in April 2016, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act effectively strips the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of its ability to issue an immediate suspension order against drug manufacturers and distributors whose unlawful conduct poses an imminent danger to public health or safety.
The Act redefined in federal law “imminent danger to the public health or safety” to mean “substantial likelihood of an immediate threat of death, serious bodily harm, or abuse of a controlled substance.” By doing so, the Act created a standard nearly impossible for the DEA to meet, preventing enforceable action against pharmaceutical companies and distributors whose actions pose a threat to public health.
“At a time when increased opioid overdoses continue to cripple communities across the country, it makes no sense to have laws on the books preventing federal agencies from taking justifiable action against drug companies acting unlawfully,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “Through my Aid Montana initiative, my office is working to address all aspects of substance abuse in Montana. This includes joining forces with my attorney general colleagues, urging Congress to repeal laws like this that stand in the way of getting the substance abuse crisis under control.”
Joining Attorney General Fox in the letter are attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.