US Justice Department to target opioid manufactures, distributors

US Justice Department to target opioid manufactures, distributors”

The Prescription Interdiction and Litigation, or PIL Task Force, will review all civil and criminal penalties available to pursue charges against opioid producers for any illegal activity.

In taking on the manufacturers, the federal government would join states that argue drug companies are partly responsible for fueling the addiction crisis.

Mr. Sessions said the task force could pull the licenses of any pharmacist or physician who illegally prescribes opioids.

The Department of Justice has launched a task force aimed at holding opioid manufacturers accountable for unlawful marketing practices and ensuring distributors, including pharmacies and physicians, obey Drug Enforcement Administration rules created to prevent diversion and improper prescribing, DOJ announced Tuesday (Feb. 27).

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro added: "When four out of every five heroin users start with a legal prescription drug, the supply chain runs directly to these opioid manufacturers, it runs directly to the opioid distributors".

The DOJ will also file a Statement of Interest in a multi-state lawsuit against number of opioid manufactures and distributors for allegedly using false and deceptive marketing for opioid drugs.

"Mike DeWine and I worked on this and talked about this fact, we're already getting involved in these cases", said Sessions.

In conjunction with the task force, the DOJ is filing a statement of interest regarding hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors brought by cities, municipalities, and medical institutions. Sessions says the federal government has borne substantial costs as a result of the drug crisis, which claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016.

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Also Tuesday, Sessions said the Drug Enforcement Administration would turn over at least some information in its database that tracks distributors of painkillers.

"We will seek to hold accountable those whose illegality has cost us billions of dollars", Sessions said.

"We believe that the Department of Justice must adhere to the highest standards in the FISA court", Sessions said.

Official figures show that opioid use killed almost 64,000 people in the United States in 2016. A day earlier, for example, Sessions said his Justice Department was working toward banning rapid-fire bump stock devices at Trump's urging, even though the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had previously said it was powerless to do so without action from Congress.

Those penalties will be applied to large manufacturers of opioids, which a recent Senate report suggested paid some $9 million to advocacy groups to help encourage the prescription of opioid drugs for pain relief, often without regard for the potentially addictive side effects. Daly, who has been a prosecutor in NY and Virginia, has expertise in fighting trans-national drug trafficking groups.

The attorney general vowed to continue the fight against opioid deaths, signaling more announcements in the future.

Investigators have said 12 bump stock devices were found in the hotel room where a shooter in Las Vegas fired on a crowd of concertgoers a year ago, killing 58 people.

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