Congressman Connolly knows that we are facing a dual crisis of prescription drugs: an opioid abuse epidemic ravaging our country that has taken more than 450,000 lives since 1999, and constant increases in the cost of legitimately prescribed medicine, all while confronting an unprecedented global pandemic that has taken more than 700,000 American lives.
The victims of drug addiction need to be helped and supported through their rehabilitation, not punished and facing criminal prosecution. That is why Congressman Connolly co-sponsored the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency Act, to establish programs and funding to address substance abuse, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction, as well as the distribution of overdose reversal drugs such as Narcane. These drugs and programs have been proven to be life saving tools that need to be made available to each and every individual who suffers from addiction. He has also consistently advocated for Medicaid expansion, which would bring in an additional $100 million to help the fight against addiction, and another $200 million which would support mental health treatment and initiatives on the road to recovery, while lowering the Medicare enrollment age and expanding coverage to include dental, vision, and hearing.
Congressman Connolly also introduced the Opioid Immediate Suspension Order Act, which was geared towards helping the Department of Justice respond to the growing crisis, allowing them to investigate and suspend distributor’s licenses if there were suspicious findings. Since then, the Federal government has begun to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for damages caused by their intentional overprescription and marketing of opioids and other drugs that addicted millions and killed people across the United States, including a $10 billion settlement with Purdue Pharma for their role in the opioid crisis. Congressman Connolly will not turn his back on the individuals, families and communities that need help combating addiction.
At the same time, Americans who have legitimately prescribed drugs have faced constant increases in costs, with many of our low-income individuals and senior citizens unable to afford necessary medications. Expanding Medicaid and capping the cost of insulin are steps in the right direction for Virginia, but much more has to be done to ensure all Americans have access to the affordable prescription drugs they need to survive. Congressman Connolly is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to demand the Department of Health and Human Services negotiate on the prices of pharmaceuticals and health care, and imposes penalties on companies that attempt to price gouge medicine. He also supports the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act of 2021, which ensures companies cannot collaborate to artificially increase the prices of drugs that should be available as generics.
On the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Congressman Connolly has supported investigations into pharmaceutical company price gouging, including the ridiculous 500% increases on the cost of EpiPens in 2016 and the $750 per pill crimes of Martin Shkreli. He also supports the Biden administration’s vaccine patent waiver, understanding that this vaccine is a result of years of massive government funding for research, and that this pandemic demands unprecedented public-private partnership in order to save lives here in the US and across the world. Even before the pandemic, he was fighting to codify the The Global Health and Security Act to ensure US investments in global efforts to prevent, prepare, and respond to worldwide public health threats. Through oversight, accountability, reform, cooperation and competition, prescription drug prices will become more affordable and available for those who need them here in Virginia and across the country.