A new bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., seeks to penalize pharmaceutical companies that were aware of health risks of prescription opioids.
Under the proposal, companies found to be responsible for drug crisis would face fines of $7.8 billion, and executives of companies involved in the crisis could face criminal penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
In describing the objective of the bill in an interview Tuesday, Sanders said: “It is holding large companies responsible for selling a product that they likely knew was addictive.”
The bill would also ban marketing that does not make clear the risks of addiction associated with the drugs and put restrictions on the quantities of pills that can go to states.
While there are state and local efforts across the country to address the opioid crisis, Sanders said companies should be held responsible for their role in creating the crisis.
“It is wrong for taxpayers to have to pick up the burden at the local, state and federal level for dealing with a problem that was perhaps knowingly caused by a handful of drug companies,” Sanders said.
While some drug companies have made billions each year in profits, not one of them has been held fully accountable for its role in an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. That has got to change.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 17, 2018
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