West Virginia Lawmakers Advance Measures To Address Opioids

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia lawmakers have advanced measures to curb the state’s drug crisis while rejecting two amendments aimed at punishing drug companies that flooded the state with painkillers.

The House agreed to hold a final floor vote on Thursday on Senate-passed legislation that would limit new painkiller prescriptions for patients to supplies for three, four or seven days, depending on who writes them.

Delegates voted against requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers report every opioid they distributed in West Virginia from 2007 to 2017 with those disproportionate and grossly negligent subject to a civil penalty up to $100 million.

Delegates also rejected imposing a tax of 10 cents per pill on manufacturers and distributors.

West Virginia in 2016 had a state record of 887 fatal overdoses – a rate of 52 per 100,000 residents – highest in the nation.