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senate Bill S. 1584

Should Opioid Manufacturers & Executives be Held Financially & Criminally Responsible for the Opioid Crisis?

Argument in favor

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has unquestionably been fueled by pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive marketing tactics. However, as the Johnson & Johnson settlement in Oklahoma illustrates, even when successful, state-level suits aren’t generating large enough settlements to pay for the damages wrought by the opioid crisis. Federal-level fines and prison time for executives of companies engaging in manipulative practices are needed to hold guilty parties responsible.

Robert j.'s Opinion
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08/29/2019
You all know how we like to lock up drug dealers. Here’s our chance.
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Jan's Opinion
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08/29/2019
They turned a blind eye to excessive amounts of product going into communities. They chose profits over responsibility. Absolutely, hold them accountable.
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08/29/2019
Wasn’t there some talk many moons ago about holding Corporations, their Executives and their large shareholders accountable for Crimes, or negligence, and other torts for causing harm to Citizens, Consumers, General Public, Employee’s, Etc.? Wasn’t Ken Lay and other Enron executives held accountable for their unethical, corrupt, immoral acts and behaviors? Didn’t we talk about holding auto manufacturers accountable for vehicles that cause harm and death to drivers, passengers and the general public? The pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Congress members that helped the Pharmaceutical companies market and push the opioids should all be held accountable for the death and harm the opioid crisis has caused. Politicians directly involved in pushing legislation that may have weakened existing protections or made it easier for Corporations to market and distribute highly toxic and addictive drugs, should be the first to go to prison or receive the death penalty for all of the deaths they have caused directly or indirectly. The Guilty Politicians should also refund all compensation they have received since they became a politician, including any and all donations from Pharmaceuticals, or pharmaceutical supply-chain and other industry campaign donations. This should go back at least 4 decades. The money should go to the victims, their families and other funds to address related injuries.
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Argument opposed

Holding pharmaceutical companies solely responsible for the opioid epidemic, as this bill seeks to do, is a massive oversimplification of the issue. The American healthcare system, overly aggressive prescribing by doctors, and even the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare have also played a role in this crisis. Punishment should be meted out to all involved parties, not just pharmaceutical companies. It also may be impossible to jail pharmaceutical company executives as punishment for their companies’ marketing practices, deceptive or not, as they may not have been involved.

Deirdre 's Opinion
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08/29/2019
I’m sorry but people were addicted and dying from heroin overdoses for eons but oh yeah they were poor and weren’t white. It seems that whenever white people start dying from something than it becomes an epidemic. Such as the crack epidemic which btw people are still using crack. Yes these corporations need to be held accountable for what they did but the people who actually did the drugs need to be held accountable for their actions too. By making big pharma and the doctors scapegoats you are giving people who are addicts a way out. I think we should look at what “the war on drugs” has really done. All it has done is created a black market that cartels and countries are benefiting from. So start by giving people healthcare that works for them such as mental health access. People who do drugs and alcohol have mental health issues and need help. So maybe we should have big pharma provide the monies for proper healthcare for addicts, setting up rehabs that fit the person.
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Bryan's Opinion
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08/29/2019
No...the manufacturers created a product that is doing exactly what it’s designed to do while publishing the risks. Medical professionals who over prescribe them are individually responsible as well as the patients who abuse them. This is a slippery slope that will open the door to litigation for manufacturers in every industry (auto, firearm, ladders, etc) to be liable for some else’s misuse.
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JTJ's Opinion
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08/30/2019
No people are supposed to be responsible for themselves. Besides this will just raise the drug prices everyone is complaining about.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedMay 21st, 2019
    You all know how we like to lock up drug dealers. Here’s our chance.
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    I’m sorry but people were addicted and dying from heroin overdoses for eons but oh yeah they were poor and weren’t white. It seems that whenever white people start dying from something than it becomes an epidemic. Such as the crack epidemic which btw people are still using crack. Yes these corporations need to be held accountable for what they did but the people who actually did the drugs need to be held accountable for their actions too. By making big pharma and the doctors scapegoats you are giving people who are addicts a way out. I think we should look at what “the war on drugs” has really done. All it has done is created a black market that cartels and countries are benefiting from. So start by giving people healthcare that works for them such as mental health access. People who do drugs and alcohol have mental health issues and need help. So maybe we should have big pharma provide the monies for proper healthcare for addicts, setting up rehabs that fit the person.
    Like (24)
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    This depends entirely on whether a company proactively hid facts, willfully ignored their own sales statistics which would have clearly shown abusive distribution patterns, and/or lied to protect profits in lieu of ensuring public safety. I think there are clear examples of this for some companies. I think others may have simply responded to provide services for those prescribed to take their medications. There is a lot more to this then just avowing the big pharma is inherently evil and a wealthy source a revenue to support governmental rehab services. Not to diminish the significance of stopping abusive/harmful practices that violate public trust for profits - it is not clear why this special legislation is needed. I would think that existing law and legal precedents exist which should govern legal action. It would be easy for juries to be emotionally swayed by the 'evil's of big pharma' to bring about judgements that principally benefit the lawyers capable of swaying the emotions of a jury. I would hate to further open that door without clear cause to do so.
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    They turned a blind eye to excessive amounts of product going into communities. They chose profits over responsibility. Absolutely, hold them accountable.
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    A drug dealer is a drug dealer.
    Like (19)
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    No...the manufacturers created a product that is doing exactly what it’s designed to do while publishing the risks. Medical professionals who over prescribe them are individually responsible as well as the patients who abuse them. This is a slippery slope that will open the door to litigation for manufacturers in every industry (auto, firearm, ladders, etc) to be liable for some else’s misuse.
    Like (19)
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    Wasn’t there some talk many moons ago about holding Corporations, their Executives and their large shareholders accountable for Crimes, or negligence, and other torts for causing harm to Citizens, Consumers, General Public, Employee’s, Etc.? Wasn’t Ken Lay and other Enron executives held accountable for their unethical, corrupt, immoral acts and behaviors? Didn’t we talk about holding auto manufacturers accountable for vehicles that cause harm and death to drivers, passengers and the general public? The pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Congress members that helped the Pharmaceutical companies market and push the opioids should all be held accountable for the death and harm the opioid crisis has caused. Politicians directly involved in pushing legislation that may have weakened existing protections or made it easier for Corporations to market and distribute highly toxic and addictive drugs, should be the first to go to prison or receive the death penalty for all of the deaths they have caused directly or indirectly. The Guilty Politicians should also refund all compensation they have received since they became a politician, including any and all donations from Pharmaceuticals, or pharmaceutical supply-chain and other industry campaign donations. This should go back at least 4 decades. The money should go to the victims, their families and other funds to address related injuries.
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    Absolutely positively!!!!!
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    Yes support S 1584 Bernard Sanders Opioid Crisis brought on by greed and lack of ethics. Publicly Hold those responsible and demand compensation to fund programs to help drug addicts and their broken halted lives, with physical/emotional stability and coping skills
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    Especially criminally accountable. I get so frustrated and angry that we take such a hardline approach to drug dealers on the street but just give fines to executive drug dealers like they are somehow above the law. Pharmaceutical CEO’s arguably cause more death and destruction than street drug pushers yet are not held to the same consequences personally and criminally.
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    Yes. They lied about the drugs being addictive. And, make gun manufacturers/companies liable for the results of their products.
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    Yes, partially. AND The Congressmen/Senators who allow it to be even legal! AND THE ADDICT THEMSELVES ARE GUILTY. No one forces the crap down their throats. Yet at the same time these companies 100% KNOW if it's addictive. And the Congress/Senate are such sell-outs that we outta put them behind bars to allow it. I don't care what party either. Lock em up! They're hurting people for profit... AND KNOW IT!🤬
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    Yes, but a reactive response has proven to be not nearly enough. We need to require irresponsible corporate practices lead to the funding of essential support systems to keep more people out of harms way. Funding for effective societal safeguards should not be solely the responsibility of the taxpayers. Especially when it is the irresponsible corporate practices which amplified the societal damage. Instead the funds collected from fines, and a hefty Corporate restitution payment should be used to augment the taxpayers dollars and to build the safety nets/support systems needed to protect future generations.
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    Yes, absolutely-these predators have profited greatly by the intentional misery of unsuspecting vulnerable Americans. They should pay through the nose and jail time might deter others from engaging in such heinous crimes against humanity. Poor people of color are serving long prison terms for possessing/selling petty amounts of drugs -many out of desperation to survive. These drug companies and their henchmen are responsible for the destruction of millions of lives. They should pay dearly.
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    Yes.
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    Hold executives of opioid responsible companies personally and criminally accountable.
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    If a drunk driver is responsible for the death of who they crash into, then the drivers of the pharmaceutical companies are responsible as well. White collar crime has been on a rampage for years and they never get more than a laughable fine, compared to their profits. Put these board members in jail and you might see them be more ethical!
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    Gee, the republiKKKon’s only care about locking up drug dealers that are black or brown or junkies that are black and brown in order to fill their for profit prisons. Thank you Bernie for going after the white drug dealers.
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    For to long big business has paid a big fine, and moved on. Top management has calculated the costs and still make a gross profit for themselves and the large stock holders. We need this bill if our government wants to maintain any legitimacy.
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    Bernie has always fought for the people's right to live. He has his history on his side proving he is one of the few public servants who actually works for the public!
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