Ohio U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci sided with Big Pharma Tuesday at the City Club of Cleveland, criticizing lawsuits against drug companies that have contributed to the Buckeye State’s overdose epidemic, which claimed the lives of more than 4,000 Ohioans last year.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper said in a release that Renacci is trying to run for governor but he doesn’t have the first clue about how to deal with the nation’s worst opioid crisis, which is happening right here in Ohio.
“First, Jim attacked Medicaid, which has been the single-biggest resource in fighting this crisis. Now he wants to tie the hands of state and local governments that are trying to hold the prescription drug companies accountable for deceptive marketing and flooding communities with highly addictive pain pills,” Pepper said. “Ohio needs more resources to help addicts get clean and attack the opioid epidemic proactively, but Jim Renacci wants to slash funding for treatment and let Big Pharma off the hook.”
Pepper said that the irony is that while Candidate Renacci says he doesn’t think lawsuits are the answer, Businessman Renacci clearly doesn’t think it’s a problem to use the courts when it suits his own interests. He filed more than 10 lawsuits against other people and corporations during his business career.
At Tuesday’s City Club event, Renacci offered these remarks:
“It’s not about money. It’s not about suing drug manufacturers. Because if you don’t like the drug situation, you say, well I’m going to sue the drug manufacturers. The next time there’s a car accident, are you going to sue the car manufacturer? The next time someone uses a gun, are you going to sue the gun manufacturer? Those aren’t the answers, in suing the manufacturers.”
According to Governing magazine, more than 100 states, cities and counties have filed lawsuits to hold prescription drug companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who was out in front on the lawsuits against Big Pharma, also slammed Renacci in a press release Wednesday.
“It’s a shame that Congressman Jim Renacci, a Washington, D.C. insider who obviously doesn’t know what is going on in Ohio, is putting his head in the sand when it comes to the heroin epidemic that’s devastating our state,” Whaley said in the release. “This is a typical response that we’ve come to expect from out-of-touch D.C. politicians. Ohioans deserve better, and we deserve action.”
As mayor, Whaley noted, she sued the big drug companies. As Governor she said she would hold them accountable beginning Day 1 of her administration with her plan to make them pay to clean up this mess.
“Ohio needs fresh, new leadership that’s willing to look at our problems directly with an unflinching eye,” Whaley said. “We need someone who doesn’t just talk, but who finds real solutions to hold the drug companies accountable so that we can bring justice to Ohioans struggling with addiction and to the taxpayers and communities who are footing the bill.”