According to CNN, President Trump has ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue any pharmaceutical companies that may have contributed to the nation’s opioid crisis.
The president reportedly instructed Sessions to file such a lawsuit during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, asking him to “bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opioids.”
“Some states have done it,” Trump continued. “But I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opioids at a level that it shouldn’t be happening.”
While the Department of Justice has already joined other state lawsuits, President Trump wants the DOJ to file a separate, federal suit against more specific opioid companies, failing to mention exactly which companies he would like the department to sue.
Various pharmaceutical companies, like Purdue Pharmaceuticals, are currently facing lawsuits from dozens of states for manufacturing OxyContin and other addictive painkillers, which have contributed to the opioid crisis over the years.
According to Sessions, the DOJ is searching for “various different legal avenues to go after abusive companies.”
“You’ve made clear you want us to sue and use legal process against drug companies that are abusing the law for some time now,” Sessions added.
In addition, President Trump told his attorney general to seek legal action against Chinese and other international companies that may have played a role in increasing the amount of fentanyl being shipped into the states.
“In China,” Trump said, “you have some pretty big companies sending that garbage and killing our people. It’s almost like a form of warfare.”
“I’d like you to do what you can legally,” he said.
Sessions agreed, replying with, “We absolutely will,” going on to note that the DOJ is already “in the process of returning indictments against Chinese companies tied to the fentanyl,” and have indicted at least 170 doctors so far for unlawfully prescribing opioids to their patients.
Referring to the influx of opioids entering the United States from both China and Mexico, Trump said, “It’s almost a form of warfare,” adding that the two countries are purposefully “sending their garbage and killing out people.”
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 49,000 people have died from opioid abuse in just the last year.
“I’d be very, very firm on that,” Sessions assured the president. “It’s a disgrace, and we can stop it.”
The president’s new request of Sessions comes just days after he tweeted that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe would have never begun in the first place if his administration had “a real Attorney General.”