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Dingell Advances Four Bipartisan Bills to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Improve Regulation of Over-the-Counter Drugs

Washington, DC, May 9, 2018

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved four bipartisan bills introduced by U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) to address the opioid epidemic and reform the outdated over-the-counter drug monograph system. Three of the bills, the Advancing Cutting-Edge (ACE) Research Act, Jessie’s Law and the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, were introduced with other Michigan members. 

“The opioid epidemic is ravaging every corner of our country,” said Dingell. “I know the horrible pain, desperation, and frustration of living with a family member with addiction and the sadness of ultimately losing someone you love. But I also live with a man in intense pain who must use opioids because there are no other alternatives. We must ensure the pendulum does not swing too far in one direction.

“I’m pleased that today the Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a number of bipartisan bills we’ve worked on to address this epidemic in a balanced way, including legislation to spur research into non-addictive pain medications, provide medical providers with the information they need to safely and effectively treat patients, and help prevent the diversion of unused prescription drugs. We also advanced bipartisan legislation to improve the over-the-counter drug monograph system to ensure that new, safe and reliable medications get to those who need them. I look forward to voting for these measures on the House floor.”

The legislation approved by the committee includes:

  • The Advancing Cutting-Edge (ACE) Research Act, legislation introduced by Dingell and Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) to spur urgently needed research on new non-addictive pain medications. The bill provides the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with new, flexible authorities to conduct innovative research on ways to prevent, treat and cure diseases, including vital research to respond to public health threats like the opioid epidemic. For more information, please click here.
  • Jessie’s Law, legislation introduced by Dingell and Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07) named after Michigan resident Jessie Grubb who tragically died of an opioid overdose last year. Jessie’s Law would help ensure doctors have access to a consenting patient’s prior history of addiction in order to make fully informed care and treatment decisions. Providing this information would help prevent cases like Jessie’s, where a recovering addict in Ann Arbor was unknowingly prescribed and discharged with a powerful opioid that led to her death. For more information please click here
  • The Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, legislation Dingell introduced with Rep. Walberg to help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused medications by allowing hospice professionals to safely dispose of unused drugs after a hospice patient’s death. 
  • The Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act, legislation Dingell introduced with Reps. Bob Latta (OH-05), Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Gene Green (TX-29), Diana DeGette (CO-01), and Brett Guthrie (KY-02) to reform the outdated over-the-counter monograph system. The legislation modernizes the monograph framework and allows new, safe products to come to market more quickly while addressing safety issues.

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