WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC News) – The opioid epidemic was front and center on Capitol Hill Tuesday as the heads of the nation’s biggest drug distribution companies were called before Congress to face tough questions about their role in the crisis.
The companies act as middlemen between pharmaceutical companies and the drug stores and hospitals that dispense addictive painkillers like hydrocodone, Percocet and Vicodin.
Five of the six executives testifying told Congress they believe their companies did not contribute to the opioid epidemic.
“For several of you to say you had no role whatsoever in this, I find it particularly offensive, when we’ve had over 900 people a year dying in West Virginia,” Representative David McKinley said.
Lawmakers accused the wholesalers of taking no action after millions of opioid pills were shipped to West Virginia, which has suffered the highest rates of overdose deaths in the country.
The executives defended themselves and apologized, but also pointed fingers, some straight at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for lack of oversight.