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The Washington Post: House Committee Asks Pharmaceutical Companies to Answer Questions About Opioids


WASHINGTON, DC – As reported Friday morning by The Washington Post, bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent letters Thursday evening to three opioid manufacturers requesting detailed information about each manufacturer’s potential role in the opioid crisis. The individual letters highlight the complexity of the opioid crisis, which claims the lives of more than 115 Americans every day.

The letters were sent to:

House committee asks pharmaceutical companies to answer questions about opioids


A House committee investigating the opioid crisis is asking three pharmaceutical manufacturers to answer questions and provide documents about their internal practices, including when they learned prescription opioids could be addictive and how they have marketed the drugs.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on oversight and investigations sent letters to Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, a large manufacturer of generic oxycodone. It also sent a letter to Insys Therapeutics, which manufactured Subsys, a type of fentanyl that is sprayed under the tongue and is meant for carefully monitored patients in severe pain.

The committee has asked Purdue Pharma to provide an un­redacted copy of a deposition of Richard Sackler — a doctor, former company president and member of the family that owns Purdue. The deposition is part of a lawsuit that Purdue settled with Kentucky for $24 million.

The letter cites a New York Times story stating that a confidential Justice Department report shows that Purdue knew that OxyContin was addictive shortly after it was put on the market in 1996 — including reports that the pills were being stolen from pharmacies, crushed and snorted — but that the firm did not reveal that information. It said Sackler was told in 1999 about chat-room discussions where people described snorting the time-release painkiller. The report also said prosecutors obtained more than 100 notes from sales representatives from 1997 to 1999 that used the words “street value,” “crush” and “snort” when talking about OxyContin.

Click HERE to read the full article online.

For more information about Energy and Commerce’s comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid crisis, click HERE.

Click HERE to read the letters.

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