Each year, approximately 64,000 Americans die from drug overdose. In an announcement last fall, President Trump declared a nationwide public health emergency to address drug addiction and opioid abuse in America.
This epidemic will spiral out of control if key leaders on both sides of the aisle don’t come together to take action. This is exactly what the Committee on Energy and Commerce has been working to do.
One year ago today, bipartisan committee leaders first requested informationfrom AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, our nation’s “top three” wholesale drug distributors. In September 2017, the committee requested information from a fourth distributor, Miami-Luken. In January 2018, the committee sent a follow-up letter to Miami-Luken, and probed a fifth distributor, H.D. Smith. In February 2018, the committee sent follow-up questions to AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson. You can find a full timeline of the committee’s bipartisan investigation here.
This morning, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hosted ahearing with the leadership of national and regional drug distributors regarding the committee’s bipartisan investigation into opioid distribution practices, with a specific focus on unusually large opioid shipments to small pharmacies in West Virginia.
#SubOversight hosted the following witnesses:
- Mr. John Hammergren, Chairman, President and CEO, McKesson Corporation;
- Mr. George Barrett, Executive Chairman of the Board, Cardinal Health Inc.;
- Mr. Steven Collis, Chairman, President and CEO, AmerisourceBergen Corporation;
- Dr. Joseph Mastandrea, Chairman of the Board, Miami-Luken, Inc.; and
- Mr. J. Christopher Smith, former President and CEO, H.D. Smith Wholesale Drug Company
Opening Statement of Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Gregg Harper
“One year ago today, May 8, 2017, the Committee opened a bipartisan investigation into the distribution of prescription opioids by wholesale drug distributors, with a specific focus on unusually large opioid shipments to small pharmacies in West Virginia. The launch of this investigation was spurred by press reports of astonishing levels of opioid distribution to pharmacies in small, rural West Virginia towns. Between 2007 and 2012, distributors sent more than 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to the state – or 433 pills for every man, woman, and child in the state. In that timeframe, 1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two drugs.?
Read the entire opening statement here.
As Chairman of #SubOversight, I am proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together to find a solution. We know that this cannot be done by one person, one bill, or one committee. This is really a multiyear, multi-Congress review and attack.
I will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
Congressman Gregg Harper