Dozens of Attorneys General support Sen. Cantwell's CARES Act

By:  Brian Neale
Source: KXLY News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington Senator Maria Cantwell (D) is pushing legislation that would hold drug manufacturers accountable for misleading advertising and negligent practices as America battle the growing problem of opioid addiction.

Monday, Cantwell's office announced 39 state Attorneys General support her Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education and Safety Act, otherwise known as CARES.

In a letter addressed to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the AGs highlighted the importance of holding drug manufacturers accountable.

According to the Senator's office, The CARES Act strengthens federal penalties on drug companies that fail to monitor and report suspicious opioid distribution, while also increasing transparency into existing federal oversight of opioid manufacturing, advertising, and distribution.

It increases the federal civil and criminal penalties on companies that fail to prevent their drugs from entering illicit markets, provides transparency about opioid manufacturers that break the law, provides resources to investigate bad actors, and authorizes additional funding to target and dismantle illicit heroin trafficking organizations.

Last year, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, one of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers. The lawsuit accuses Purdue of fueling the opioid epidemic in Washington, embarking on a massive deceptive marketing campaign and convincing doctors and the public that their drugs are effective for treating chronic pain and have a low risk of addiction, contrary to  evidence.

“Opioid companies have a duty to ensure they take every step and act quickly to prevent their drugs from getting into the wrong hands,” Ferguson said Monday. “Drug companies know what suspicious activity looks like, but I’ve seen them ignore their responsibility to report it. Sen. Cantwell’s bills hold them accountable, and I thank her for her leadership.”