ALBUQUERQUE ― Attorney General Hector Balderas along with a bipartisan coalition of 39 state and territory attorneys general called on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic and stem diversion.
“Congress must act to join our fight against the opioid crisis in New Mexico by creating tougher penalties for irresponsible drug manufacturers,” Balderas said. “My office is combating the epidemic in New Mexico through our aggressive litigation, our Project OPEN training and outreach, and working with other state and federal partners to hold the giant opioid corporations accountable for the devastation they are causing to our young people, families, and entire communities.”
The coalition sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Judiciary Committee, the committees of jurisdiction, urging them to pass the S.2456, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 and S.2440, the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act.
Opioid manufacturers have a duty to ensure that they take steps to prevent drugs from entering the illicit market. Among other provisions, CARA 2.0 and the CARES Act increase penalties on drug manufactures that fail to report suspicious transactions and maintain effective controls against diversion of their drugs to the illicit market. The bills would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation for negligence in reporting suspicious activity and double the criminal penalty to $500,000 for companies that willfully disregard or knowingly fail to keep proper reporting systems or fail to report suspicious activity.