Dec 16, 2019 3:23 PM

Graves contends tackling opioid use harder than portrayed

Posted Dec 16, 2019 3:23 PM

By BRENT MARTIN

St. Joseph Post

Congressman Sam Graves says efforts to curb the opioid epidemic run into the reality of attempting to treat the pain some patients experience.

Graves says Congress is wrestling with how best to address the growing crisis of opioid addiction, which has broken lives and torn apart families.

“This is one of those things that you struggle with, trying to figure out what’s the right answer, how do we regulate it, how do we prevent this from happening, but we don’t stifle doctors’ ability to be able to manage pain, too?”

Graves, speaking on the KFEQ Hotline, calls efforts to sue pharmaceutical companies an easy target. He says he doesn’t want the threat of lawsuits to keep drug companies from engaging in needed research.

“Pharmaceuticals are the big, evil corporation and they’re an easy target. So, you’re seeing trial attorneys going after them in a lot of cases, because the trial attorneys are going to get their money, for sure,” Graves says.

Graves says he wonders whether pharmaceuticals are being made the scape goat.

Graves does see a way for Congress and President Donald Trump to work together to rein in pharmaceutical companies in one regard:  drug prices.

Graves says it makes no sense that drug prices fluctuate from one country to the next.

“Every one of us has a story, or a horror story, of that drug therapy being just outrageously expensive for one treatment and you can’t afford it and you’ve got to find creative ways on figuring out how to get that and so that’s what the president wants. He wants transparency.”

Graves says it appears the effort to make drug pricing more transparent is gaining widespread support in Congress.