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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 16, 2016 11:45 AM
From: Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: A Resolution Urging the Governor and Attorney General to File Suit Against Pharmaceutical Companies Responsible for Causing the Opioid Epidemic
In the near future I will be introducing a resolution urging the Governor and the Office of Attorney General to file lawsuits against opioid drug companies. Certain pharmaceutical companies mislead the public about the addictiveness of the powerful prescription opioid drugs and are engaged in fraud, conspiracy and negligence in the development and marketing of these drugs. These same companies used sophisticated, highly deceptive and misleading science to reverse the medical community’s understanding of the dangers of widespread opioid use. These pharmaceutical companies knew that prolonged use of opioids were addictive and subject to abuse but they put profits above all. These tactics resulted in billions of dollars in profits for these companies, to the tune of $8 billion in 2012 and projected profits of $15.3 billion this year.

The use of these drugs is too profitable for these companies to do the right thing and stop mass marketing efforts. These companies will not stop peddling their opioid drugs unless we stop them. Marketing efforts by these companies—and not any medical breakthrough—rationalized prescribing opioids for chronic pain and opened the floodgates of opioid use and abuse. Recent data for Pennsylvania shows that 10,394,466 prescriptions for opioid medications were filled by individuals in 2015 and a recent report from the DEA shows at least 2,497 Pennsylvanians died from overdoses in 2014. The Commonwealth is in the midst of an opioids and heroin epidemic causing thousands of overdose deaths and destroying communities and families.

The financial toll of this epidemic will be catastrophic to the limited resources of the Commonwealth and we need to hold these companies accountable for their actions. States have historically filed lawsuits against industries who engage in illegal business practices, like the tobacco industry in the 1990’s, in order to protect its citizens. My resolution will direct any funds recovered to a reserved account to be used to fund drug, alcohol and mental health treatment. If we succeed we can stop this epidemic, save lives, and limit the financial burden facing the Commonwealth.

I implore you to join me and cosponsor this Resolution.

A DRAFT of the Resolution is attached for your review. Please direct any questions to David Vitale at 717-783-1006.

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Introduced as HR943