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WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will introduce a bill Tuesday that would impose jail time for pharmaceutical executives whose companies engage in manipulative practices when marketing opioids.

The legislation would impose a 10-year minimum prison sentence and fines equal to an executive’s compensation package if the individual’s company is found to have illegally contributed to the opioid crisis. It would also impose an additional fine on those companies of $7.8 billion — one-tenth the annual cost of the crisis, per a 2016 estimate.

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  • So, America has seen drug epidemics like the opiod “crisis” before. We, who are old enough to recall the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80’s, saw increased legal sentences for crack. We saw mandatory sentencing for drug offenses pass legislature. We saw no such mandatory sentencing for murder in the 80’s. There is still no mandatory sentencing law for murder. Also, what I did not notice was the victimization of the crack user. They were branded as criminals and simply thrown into jail. While doctors did not prescribe crack cocaine, I can’t help but observe a societal double standard that exists between the 80’s inner city crack “epidemic”, and today’s opiod “crisis”. I can’t help but think that if freebasing cocaine was thought of today, and if it took hold in middle class white suburbs that we would have a different reaction to it. Perhaps the crack smokers would be considered victims just like today’s heroin users.
    Laws went further to target crack users and federal penalties for possessing crack were multiplied compared to the same amount of regular cocaine. The active ingredient is the same between the two forms of the drug – although one predominantly used by black people – guess which one carried the stiffer penalty?
    I choose to self identify as not being African American. I just wanted to share my distaste for the way society deals with the two problems completely differently. With opiates, there is a face to blame, the doctors first and now the pharmesuedecal companies. The dynamics of the two drugs are completely different, but the end result is the same. They both shatter lives.

  • As a registered nurse historically & currently I see analgesics prescribed when a psychotropic & counseling would be a more appropriate treatment modality.

  • Back in the late 80’s I had perforated ulcers. My Dr. Prescribed me EX Vicoden. I was told that these pills were VERY addictive. Be careful to take them only as directed. That was just over 30 years ago. The pharmaceutical companies Doctors & the F.D.A. new back then that this drug had the potential to cause serious addiction problems. Yet they continued to push it. I understand that there is fault on many sides. The drug reps became in a sense lobbyists for their companies. How many times do you see these reps bring lunches, tickets & I saw one Dr. who was actually on the pain meds poster in the office.
    I for one applause Bernies efforts. I dont think it goes far enough though.
    The Food & Drug administration needs to be looked at also.
    Without their approval this drug would never been administered outside of a hospital.
    As I commented earlier, the blame is everywhere. I just believe you have to start at the top to stop this.

    • PLEASE READ MY COMMENT, I BEG YOU! I’ve researched this situation for YEARS from every possible angle.
      PEOPLE IN PAIN ARE DYING FROM PAIN, IN PAIN, & FROM SUICIDE. This is the REAL EPIDEMIC with HEROIN & OD’s.
      There is NO PILL PROBLEM! The DEA cut how many pills could be produced, THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF PILLS!
      It’s a COVER for what the FDA, CIA, DEA, CDC (currently being sued for lying about stats), & MEDIA is doing. Depopulation ….1993….same year oxycontin came out.
      THAT’S when this law was needed! Purdue got off on “mislabeling” LYING and made 2.3 BILLION in 2007 alone!
      Look on a drug forum to see what people are getting high on….it isn’t pills.
      Every day I read outrageous stories
      …90 people a day are dying! PILL EPIDEMIC!
      AMPHETAMINES & HEROIN are the culprits.
      Media says FENTANYL….they neglect to say it isn’t pharmaceutical Fentanyl, but use the word interchangably with some 15 illegal concoctions containing MDMA amphetamines opioids, etc OF COURSE it’s killing people! But nowhere near the numbers reported!

    • That was long ago. It’s too late. There is NO PILL EPIDEMIC today. It’s heroin from Afghanistan.
      The only BODIES PILING UP TODAY ARE THE REAL PAIN PATIENTS!

  • Mr. Sanders, street drug dealers get way more time than 10 years when they get caught! And “Execs” should include any and everyone in a position of authority. Because middle class & poor people don’t bring drugs into the U S.A.

  • McKesson was “said to” send too many tablets? All in response to doctors prescriptions? That’s good enough for me! Lock them up!
    That’s sarcasm by the way…
    The pain pill problem just very complicated and old news. It’s all here one for the past five years. You can blame NAFTA and loose borders for that.

    • You definitely do not know what you’re talking about. These issues STARTED with doctor prescribed opiates. Now that doctors are aware, and prescribing less deadly opiates, the drugs are coming in from overseas pharmacies and as illegal street drugs. But that is a direct result of the new prescribing practices. I agree with another commenter. Big Pharma are nothing but glorified pushers in suits. Ps. I am speaking from personal experience. My mom got prescribed oxycontin in 1995 for a back injury and they kept her on it and kept increasing her doses even though she was obviously addicted. They killed her eventually but it took 16 years of addiction to them. The PDR back then even said to prescribe no longer than 9 months. Doctors didn’t care, they were getting huge kickbacks from Purdue. I hope those rich @$$holes burn for this.

  • How about Bernie directing that money to the people harmed by the excess prescribing as they are the ones suffering in the wake of a manufactured crises instead of fattening accounts in the Federal Govt that will never see the light of day… Help the People Harmed directly instead of this dead-end slush fund… Cash Payouts are the Only Way Bernie…

    • The government incurs additional spending due to the spread of opioids, from treatment to law enforcement.

      It is unclear that direct cash transfers to drug addicts work very well, in part due to the nature of the disease.

      Also, there is neither consensus nor proof that the federal government is by and large inept or corrupt.

      In an open conversation on the internet, it is important to keep in mind that opinions that are socially sanctioned only in a particular circle cannot be taken as granted, unless there is some strong evidence which should be explained.

    • Too little WAY too late!!!! WHAT A JOKE! Starting in 1993 Purdue lied & said oxycontin had NO addictive properties. They plead guilty & paid 3 Mill for “mislabeling”.
      In 2007 they made 2.3 BILLION on oxycontin alone.
      Big pharma is turning to new “addiction meds” that will target EVERYONE, cancer patients, end of life, etc according to the new DSM-5, which is Drs & INSURANCE CO BIBLE…..changed by who? A Dr who is ALSO working for Big Pharma on this new miracle addiction drug.
      Meanwhile, the CDC’s stats on opioid deaths are “opioid related deaths”. Polydrug use (they have NO IDEA what killed the person, SUICIDES, & HEROIN”.
      There is NO PILL EPIDEMIC. 4 yrs ago the DEA cut back how many pills could be produced. Legit pain patients are treated like criminals & CAN’T GET THEIR PAIN MEDS, CAUSING MORE SUICIDES!
      The VA cut VETS off from their pain meds. A Vet killed himself in the parking lot of the VA leaving a note saying he couldn’t live in such pain any longer.
      There are 150 MILLION chronic pain patients THE REAL EPIDEMIC NOT REPORTED BY THE CIA CONTROLLED MEDIA (according to the CIA in the PUBLIC JFK files, CIA controls the media).
      The government is killing these people on PURPOSE!!!! The G8 Countries met with the UN in RIO in 1993….the SAME YEAR OF OXYCONTIN
      …..DECIDING ON DEPOPULATION.
      What a coincidence! Now the CIA is flooding our streets with heroin. US soldiers can be seen guarding the poppy fields all over YT.
      This is all in PUBLIC DOCUMENTS! You can read them! See with your own eyes! Hear the soldiers say they burn fields that don’t comply with US & guard those that do. Vietnam, GOVERNMENT moved heroin, Ricky Ross West Coast Crack EPIDIDEMIC, Iran-Contra….that’s WHAT THE US GOV DOES!!!
      And it’s all PUBLIC!
      Sorry for all the CAPS, but people need to wake up.
      There is a HUGE difference between ADDICTION & DEPENDENCE!
      If the person is able to get out of bed, function, possibly work….THAT’S GOOD, DEPENDENCE SAVES MORE LIVES THAN ADDICTION (to pills) KILLS……which will be seen IN THE SILENT SUICIDE EPIDEMIC TO COME! I’ve lost FOUR people to SUICIDE that were NOT ADDICTED.
      ADDICTION DESTROYS LIVES DEPENDENCE SAVES THEM!
      Less than 2% of people WHO HAVE NEVER USED RECREATIONAL DRUGS WILL BECOME ADDICTED!!!! PAIN PATIENTS DON’T GET HIGH, THEY ONLY FEEL RELIEF!
      They have 2 choices, suicide or heroin. It’s a win-win for the government.
      They CANNOT ABUSE, DIVERT, OR DR SHOP! Contracts are signed, urine samples (the right amount in the system, nothing illegal, no abuse POSSIBLE), random pill counts, & databases show every script filled!!!!

      THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE, if ONE TOWN WAS AFFECTED, 1) probably untrue 2) SO WHAT?
      DOES ANYONE REALLY BELIEVE THE GOV CARES ABOUT ADDICTS ALL OF A SUDDEN WHEN HARM REDUCTION IS ILLEGAL?!?!
      Someone PLEASE COVER THE TRUTH!

  • It’s less than what we give drug dealers, which is what they are. They knowingly engaged in practices that pushed an addictive, potentially deadly substance, into so many people’s hands that 1 in 8 are addicted. If they were black guys on the street instead of white guys in offices, there would be no argument. When drug dealers repeatedly have people showing up dead from using/abusing their product, the cops show up and arrest the guys responsible. How high does the body count have to get for these pills before the cops do something?

  • At last……. I won’t hold my breath, but this needs to happen.
    These companies are as responsible as any drug cartel, or anyone selling this stuff on the streets. It’s all about being accountable!

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