Brown Introduces Bill to Ensure Transparency, Accountability in DEA Quotas for Prescription Painkillers

Senator Secured Commitment from DEA to Reduce Production of Prescription Painkillers by 20 Percent in 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced the Opioid Quota Openness, Transparency, and Awareness Act (Opioid QuOTA Act) to shed light on annual quotas for prescription painkiller production and the secretive process by which the pharmaceutical companies gain approval to produce opioid painkillers that are taking lives all across Ohio.  Despite the massive quantity of addictive opioid pain medication that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) approves for production, there is little public information about which individual companies are manufacturing prescription opioid pills or how many.

“Drug companies and the DEA have a responsibility to make sure they aren’t over-producing opioids that end up on Ohio streets,” said Brown. “As Ohio communities continue to combat the opioid crisis, they deserve to know that the DEA is doing its job to hold drug companies accountable.”     

The legislation requires the U.S. Attorney General to make available through DEA’s website the quotas for an opioid painkiller issued to a registered manufacturer, as well as that manufacturer’s actual use of the quota. The bill also makes available the applications submitted to DEA by registered manufacturers requesting a particular quantity of active ingredient, and year-end reports on actual quota use, which DEA now treats as confidential.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.V.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

Last month, Brown applauded a proposal issued by the DEA to reduce the production of prescription opioids by 20 percent next year after Brown asked the agency to take this step. Brown and several of his Senate colleagues met with Chuck Rosenberg, Acting Administrator at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and urged him to reduce the amount of opioid pills allowed to be manufactured and sold in the United States in 2018. 

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