PRINTER'S NO. 1141
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
173
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY COSTA, BROWNE, FONTANA, BREWSTER, STREET, HUGHES
AND TARTAGLIONE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
REFERRED TO RULES AND EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
A RESOLUTION
Urging the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General to
file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that engage in
practices that caused the ongoing opioid epidemic within this
Commonwealth.
WHEREAS, Prescription opioids are narcotics that are derived
from or possess properties similar to opium and heroin; and
WHEREAS, Certain pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of
millions of dollars to mislead the public about the
addictiveness of powerful prescription opioid drugs; and
WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies continue to engage in
fraud, conspiracy and negligence in the development and
marketing of highly addictive opioid drugs; and
WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies continue to use
sophisticated and highly deceptive and unfair marketing
campaigns in an effort to reverse the medical community's
understanding of opioids to increase opioid drug use; and
WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies know that prolonged
use of opioids is addictive, subject to abuse and that opioids
should be used only as a last resort; and
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WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies know that prolonged
use of opioids causes the effectiveness of the drugs to wane,
requiring an increase in the dosage and markedly increasing the
risk of significant side effects and addiction; and
WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies continue to use
misleading scientific data to convince the medical community to
increasingly prescribe opioid drugs; and
WHEREAS, Certain pharmaceutical companies have used illegal
kickbacks in the past to encourage physicians and nurses to
prescribe opioid products; and
WHEREAS, Certain pharmaceutical companies' marketing efforts
and the lack of medical breakthroughs prescribing opioids for
chronic pain opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse; and
WHEREAS, A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine
found a direct correlation between physicians receiving
manufacturer-sponsored meals and increased prescribing rates of
drugs promoted during the meal; and
WHEREAS, Certain opioid pharmaceutical companies set sales
quotas for their sales representatives that are impossible to
meet unless the drugs are promoted for off-label use; and
WHEREAS, These pharmaceutical companies continue to earn
billions of dollars in profits from their questionable opioid
products and sales tactics; and
WHEREAS, Americans represent only 4.6% of the world's
population but consume 80% of the world's opioids and 99% of the
global hydrocodone supply; and
WHEREAS, Opioid sales generated $8 billion in revenue for
drug companies in 2012 and an estimated $15.3 billion in 2016;
and
WHEREAS, The Associated Press and the Center for Public
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Integrity published an investigation outlining how certain
pharmaceutical companies and their allies have adopted a 50-
state strategy that includes hundreds of lobbyists and nearly $1
billion spent on lobbying and campaign contributions from 2006
through 2015 to help kill or weaken measures aimed at stemming
the tide of prescription opioids; and
WHEREAS, In the 2014 National Drug Threat Assessment, the
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported that approximately 129
people die every day as a result of drug poisoning and more than
60% of those overdose deaths are due to pharmaceutical opioids
or are heroin related; and
WHEREAS, According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, in 2015, 52,000 people died from drug overdoses and
approximately two-thirds of them had used prescription opioids;
and
WHEREAS, Recent data for this Commonwealth shows 10,394,466
prescriptions for opioid medications were filled by individuals
in 2015; and
WHEREAS, In 2015, a report from the DEA identified 3,383
drug-related overdose deaths in this Commonwealth, an increase
of 23.4% over 2014; and
WHEREAS, This Commonwealth is in the midst of an opioid and
heroin epidemic causing thousands of overdose deaths and
destroying communities and families; and
WHEREAS, Opioid abuse causes a $78.5 billion loss to the
United States economy each year; and
WHEREAS, The financial toll this epidemic is having on the
limited resources of the Commonwealth is staggering; and
WHEREAS, States have historically filed lawsuits against
industries that engage in illegal business practices, such as
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the tobacco industry in the 1990s, in order to protect their
residents; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate urge the Governor and the Office of
Attorney General to initiate lawsuits against pharmaceutical
companies that engage in practices that caused the ongoing
opioid epidemic within this Commonwealth; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Senate urge the Governor and the Office of
the Attorney General, should they initiate lawsuits and prevail,
to place any funds recovered in a reserve account to be used for
drug, alcohol and mental health treatment programs.
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