December 04, 2019

Manchin Meets With FDA Commissioner Nominee Dr. Stephen Hahn

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today met with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Nominee Dr. Stephen Hahn. Senator Manchin impressed upon Dr. Hahn the important role the FDA has in ending the opioid epidemic, which killed 978 West Virginians in 2018 alone. In 2018, there were over 47,829 opioid related overdose deaths in the US. That’s 131 people dying every day from an opioid overdose. 

“Today, I had a productive meeting with Dr. Hahn about his qualifications, his vision for the FDA and what he will do to fight the opioid epidemic. With 131 Americans dying every day due to an opioid overdose, the FDA now more than ever needs a champion who is committed to changing the way the agency handles opioids. In 2016, I voted against FDA Commissioner Dr. Califf’s nomination because of his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry which created this epidemic. The FDA and the Commissioner’s number one priority should be public health. We need to change the culture of the FDA and we need a commissioner who will push back against the pressure to continually approve new opioid medications given the significant risks to public health,” Senator Manchin said.

The opioid epidemic has been fueled by prescription opioids. Drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone painkillers into West Virginia between 2007 and 2012. That’s 433 pain pills for every person in West Virginia – including children. More than 11 million Americans misused prescription opioids and 2.1 million Americans are dependent on opioids. West Virginia has highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. West Virginia has reported 978 drug overdose deaths in 2018 with 808 – about 83 percent – involving was opioid related. The FDA is important in the fight to end the opioid epidemic and help stop the flood of prescription opioids into West Virginia. 

To review a full timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, please click here.