FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling on federal lawmakers to pass legislation that significantly increases the size of fines levied against irresponsible drug manufacturers.
The legislation would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation and doubles the maximum criminal penalty from $250,000 to $500,000 per violation for drug manufacturers who fail to legally report suspiciously large volumes of their drugs to state and federal authorities.
“While we are battling our drug epidemic at the state level, I’m urging our federal lawmakers to get the attention of any and all irresponsible drug manufacturers who willfully disregard the reporting of suspicious orders of their own drugs being funneled into Kentucky that are negatively impacting are families and communities,” Beshear said.
Beshear has filed five lawsuits against opioid manufacturers or distributors – Johnson and Johnson, Amerisource Bergen; Cardinal Health; McKesson Corporation; and Endo Pharmaceuticals – for their unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices in fueling Kentucky’s drug epidemic.
The federal legislation Beshear and a bipartisan group of attorneys general is supporting is the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Attorneys general in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Virginia are joining Beshear.
Beshear is working with Ohio AG Mike DeWine and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey to find solutions to the drug crisis in their region of the country.
“Opioid manufacturers have a duty to ensure they take steps quickly to prevent their drugs from entering the illicit market,” Beshear said. “The consequences for turning a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders cannot merely be a cost of doing business or the impact on the lives of our citizens.”