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Handouts to Manufacturers Will Not Curb Opioid Abuse Epidemic

WASHINGTON - A provision tucked into a U.S. House of Representatives bill to address opioid addiction is nothing but an expensive handout to the pharmaceutical industry that will do little to address the epidemic, Public Citizen said in a letter to Congress.

Lawmakers in the conference committee for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 6, for the first time to discuss the bill.

The provision – Section 803 – would give manufacturers of so-called “abuse-deterrent” forms of opioids unnecessary financial incentives under the Medicaid program for their products.

“There is absolutely no need to provide additional incentives to manufacturers to develop new abuse-deterrent pain products. Manufacturers already are heavily promoting abuse-deterrent formulations as the future of opioid pain relief,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “Moreover, new abuse-deterrent products do not warrant expensive incentives because they have not yet been proven to substantially reduce the opioid abuse epidemic. If lawmakers are serious about fighting this public health crisis, they will oppose section 803.”

Read the letter.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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