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Missouri AG joins push for deeper cuts in opioid pill manufacturing


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Eleven attorneys general from around the U.S., including Missouri’s Josh Hawley, are calling on the federal government to implement sweeping reforms to account for the misuse of prescription painkillers and ultimately lead to the manufacturing of fewer opioids in 2019.

The West Virginia-led filing was joined by attorneys general from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and Utah. They are calling the 2019 proposed quotas for Schedule II opioids — including oxycodone and hydrocodone — an improvement over the quotas for prior years, but state that the amounts are still excessive.

The Drug Enforcement Agency is proposing a 10-percent reduction is Schedule II opioids for the coming year.

According to Hawley, the DEA has not yet accounted for illicit diversion and relevant input from states and federal agencies. Much more can be accomplished by fully factoring in the results of DEA’s new drug quota rule now. The coalition contends further reduction in the supply of dangerous, addictive opioids is possible and would be of greater benefit to Missouri, and the nation as a whole.

Fully implementing the reforms will require the DEA to consider relevant information from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and relevant information obtained from states.

“We must do everything we can to end the opioid epidemic that plagues Missouri and the country,” Hawley said. “Reducing the supply of these deadly and addictive drugs is a commonsense action that can be taken now.”

This isn’t the first fight against opioid manufacturers and distributors that Hawley has taken up as Missouri’s Attorney General. In June 2017, he filed a lawsuit against three major opioid manufacturers alleging these companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell. That investigation has been expanded to include seven additional manufacturers. The Attorney General is also investigating opioid distributors and their role in the ongoing opioid crisis in Missouri.

Read the coalition’s filing here.