WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill blasted Teva Pharmaceutical Industries today, following the company’s repeated refusal to turn over information related to her committee investigation into the role opioid manufacturers and distributors play in the ongoing opioid public health crisis.
“Teva’s refusal to cooperate with Congressional requests strongly suggests they have something to hide,” McCaskill said. “I’d hope that everyone involved or associated with the company takes note that they’re dealing with an entity that’s stonewalling a Senate investigation examining a national public health crisis. Teva has been an outlier throughout our investigation, and they can rest assured that I’ll continue to pursue every possible avenue to get them to comply for as long as it takes.”
McCaskill made her original request for information and documents from Teva on July 26, 2017. In response to this request and informal follow-up requests for information, the company submitted a three-page response, which failed to comply with McCaskill’s original inquiry. McCaskill then formally wrote to Teva on September 28, 2017, explaining that “…the company’s decision to obstruct basic oversight on the opioid epidemic should deeply concern shareholders as the company attempts to address larger management issues.”
On October 5, 2017, in a four-page response, Teva again declined to provide information or documents related to the specific requests at the heart of McCaskill’s investigation, writing that, “Teva has declined to produce the documents specifically requested.”
McCaskill last year launched her investigation into opioid manufacturers—the most comprehensive Congressional investigation into the crisis to date—when she requested information related to sales and marketing materials, internal addiction studies, details on compliance with government settlements and donations to third party advocacy groups from major opioid manufacturers. She expanded her investigation, requesting documents and information from opioid manufacturers Mallinckrodt, Endo, Teva, and Allergan, while a request to McKesson Corporation, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and Cardinal Health, Inc., focused on their distribution of opioid products. In September, McCaskill announced the first round of findings, detailing systemic manipulation of the prior authorization process by Insys Therapeutics. McCaskill’s latest report, issued earlier this year, describes how manufacturers of opioids have made significant financial investments into third party organizations—groups which in turn have often engaged in pro-opioid advocacy. McCaskill is currently working on legislation to strengthen the Drug Enforcement Administration’s opioid enforcement abilities. After media reports indicated that the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 had dramatically restricted DEA’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors suspected of wrongdoing, McCaskill introduced a bill to repeal the law, and she led a Senate roundtable on her bill.