The Drug Enforcement Administration has the power to decide how much of a particular drug can be legally manufactured and sent to market each year. But even as the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic skyrocketed, the agency officially sanctioned a 1,200% increase in oxycodone production, according to a former DEA agent quoted in this article. In 1997, one year after OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma brought the drug to market, the total oxycodone production quota approved by the DEA was 8.3 tons, but by 2011, it had risen to 105 tons, the article says. And while the DEA claims that limiting the supply of the prescription painkillers will not reduce abuse, the agency is being heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, which employs more lobbyists in Washington than there are members of Congress and has spent more than $20 million annually on lobbying since 2007, the article notes.
Read more about the pharmaceutical industry’s rising production quotas here.