Coming as they did on the heels of President Trump’s declaration that the opioid crisis had become a “national emergency,” these news stories represent just the tip of an emerging spear that is being progressively used to gore Pharma for its complicity in creating the opioid epidemic. More interesting, however, is that rather than coming from Washington, the anti-Pharma crusade, which carries bipartisan support, is sprouting in America’s statehouses.
There’s no necessary reason why this should be. Legislators in Congress who are willing to buck Pharma run the gamut from right-wing firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to left-wing darling Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate, and Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) to Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) in the House. In fact, the latter two have introduced a bill that closes a loophole that is preventing rural hospitals from accessing discounts on expensive medicines. Nevertheless, apparently the control of Pharma over levers of financial support for members of Congress has remained too strong for such reformers to get much of a hearing at the federal level, even in a White House whose main occupant has shown himself more than happy to criticize the industry.