The Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2019 (HR 2917 / S 1584, 116th Congress) focuses on marketing and distribution practices by pharmaceutical companies producing opioid drugs. Specifically, the Act would ban “dubious marketing or distribution” which refers to marketing that represents opioids as non-addictive, distributing a quantity of opioids to states that is medically unreasonable, or not reporting suspicious distribution orders. The Act further would institute penalties for violating these clauses, including both civil penalties and imprisonment, at the employee and corporate levels. In addition, the Act calls for a fee against all opioid manufacturers and distributors to total $20 billion, with half paid within one year of the Act’s enactment and the full amount paid within two years of the Act’s enactment. This money, along with any funds raised by the penalties described above, would be placed in a fund known as the “Opioids Reimbursement Fund” which would be used to fight opioid misuse and abuse in the US.
The ongoing opioid crisis in the US is estimated to cause 130 deaths per day. A number of legislative proposals, including this Act, seek to reduce rates of dependence and overdose on opioids.