The scourge of opioid abuse is a growing public health crisis that has left no community in our nation untouched. It cuts across geographic, generational, political and economic divides, leaving in its wake countless victims, devastated families and economic ruin. America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to finding solutions to the crisis by leveraging advances in science and human biology to transform the standard of care for pain management through non-addictive, next generation therapies. We also recognize that the present opioid crisis is a complex problem which will require collaboration from all parts of our healthcare and legal systems to effectively address.
Without question, strong enforcement of our nation’s drug laws to prevent diversion of opioids is a critical aspect of preventing opioid abuse. That’s why many individuals were understandably upset at reports this weekend from 60 Minutes and the Washington Post that misleadingly suggested that the innovative biopharmaceutical industry was heavily involved in advocating for a law which made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Agency to crack down on suspicious and likely illegal sales of opioids. At several points, the stories misleadingly conflate biopharmaceutical innovators and manufacturers with wholesalers and distributors, referring to them collectively as the “pharmaceutical industry”. In reality, innovative biopharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesale distributors are entirely separate industries, represented by different associations, with vastly different business models and distinct policy priorities. At no time did BIO – the largest association representing biopharmaceutical innovators in the world – support or lobby in favor of this bill.
Right now, there are more than 85 biopharmaceutical companies developing 111 novel molecules to improve our ability to treat and manage pain and addiction. Our companies are focused on solving the problem of opioid abuse by discovering these desperately needed new treatments. At BIO, our goal is to work to ensure that these companies have the regulatory and policy environment they need to get these innovations from the labs to the patients who need them.