Senate Passes Opioids Package, Includes McCaskill Priorities as She Continues Fight for Missourians
Senator’s proposals aimed at cracking down on shipments of fentanyl, bringing down overprescriptions, and providing oversight and accountability to Medicare programs
WASHINGTON – Continuing her work to battle the opioid epidemic in Missouri and across the country, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill successfully included key priorities into legislation aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic which passed the U.S. Senate by a 99-1 vote Monday night.
“This is a great example of how we can work together towards common goals—to curb the flow of fentanyl into our communities, cut down on overprescriptions, and support our doctors and first responders who are on the front lines of this epidemic—these commonsense, bipartisan proposals will make a real difference,” McCaskill said. “So this is a big step forward in our fight against the opioid epidemic that will help save lives in Missouri and across the country.”
Included in the legislation was the McCaskill-backed bipartisan STOP Act of 2018, which has earned the support of President Trump, that would crack down on the illegal shipment of fentanyl into the country. Additional McCaskill-backed proposals included in the legislation would seek to decrease overprescriptions of opioids in Medicare, authorize additional overdose prevention grants to strengthen local prescription drug monitoring programs, and encourage greater use of prescribing guidelines. The legislation would also expand training and resources for first responders, and provide better tools for doctors working to prevent and treat opioid misuse in pregnant women.
McCaskill also launched an investigation into opioid manufacturers last year—the most comprehensive Congressional investigation into the crisis to date—when she requested information related to sales and marketing materials, internal addiction studies, details on compliance with government settlements and donations to third party advocacy groups from major opioid manufacturers. Later, she expanded her investigation, requesting documents and information from opioid manufacturers Mallinckrodt, Endo, Teva, and Allergan, while a request to McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Cardinal Health, Inc., focused on their distribution of opioid products.
In September of last year, McCaskill announced the first round of findings, detailing systemic manipulation of the prior authorization process by Insys Therapeutics. Earlier this year in February, McCaskill’s investigation released another round of findings, exposing the financial ties between opioid manufacturers and third party groups, who often lobbied for pro-opioid policies after receiving contributions from pharmaceutical companies. In July, McCaskill released another report as part of her investigation into opioid manufacturers, documenting how the “Big Three” pharmaceutical distribution companies together shipped around 1.6 billion dosage units of opioid products to Missouri alone between 2012 and 2017.