With drug overdose deaths on the increase, state legislators around the country are piloting a strategy to improve the treatment of opioid addicts: drug producers and their traders have to pay for it.
Bills introduced in at least 15 states impose taxes or fees on prescription painkillers. Some of the measures have bipartisan support and would channel millions of dollars into treatment and prevention programs.
In Montana, state Senator Roger Webb, a Republican, sees the approach as a way to blame drug makers for an overdose epidemic 2016 claimed 42,000 lives in the US, a record
"They're creating the problem", he said. "They will fix it."
Opioids contain prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as illegal drugs such as heroin and illegal versions of fentanyl. Public health experts say the crisis began because of the over-aggressive and aggressive marketing of drugs launched in the 1
A Pennsylvania Opioid tax law was introduced in 2015, and a year later a federal version was introduced, but most of the proposals were made last year. Most of them have come a long way, with legislators under heavy pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to delay or mitigate legislation.
Drug manufacturers and distributors argue that it would be wrong to tax prescription drugs, that the cost increases are eventually absorbed by patients or taxpayers, and that there are other ways to pay for addiction treatment and prevention.
"We have partnered with states to advance comprehensive solutions to this complex health crisis, and in many cases have seen success," said Priscilla VanderVeer, a spokeswoman for pharmaceutical research and manufacturer of America, in a statement. "However, we do not believe that levying a tax on prescription medicines that meet legitimate medical needs is an appropriate funding mechanism for the state budget."
Two Pharmaceutical Companies That Used Lobbyists – Purdue Pharma and Pfizer – Answered Questions with Similar Statements
A spokesperson for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents drug dealers, said a tax would mean cancer patients and those who are in the End-of-life care may not be able to get the needed medicines
The industry has stressed that the well-known pharmaceutical companies that make up their members are already giving discounts to states for Medicaid medicines financed. These rebates nationwide amount to billions of dollars that states could use to address opioid dependence, the trading group says.
The state taxation legislation on opioids comes as manufacturers and traders in hundreds of lawsuits by state and local governments to defend damages for tolls has taken over the overdose epidemic communities.
David Humes, whose son died of an overdose of heroin in 2012, is pushing for an opioid tax in Delaware that did not increase the funding for addiction treatment last year
"If you remember that more people die each year," he said If you leave the money the same, you will not keep up with this public health crisis, "he said.
Humes, board member of the advocacy group AtTack Addiction, advocates legislation that provides opioid tax revenue for addiction services.
The main sponsor of an opioid tax legislation, Senate Stephanie Hansen, told pharmaceutical companies that they were already contributing $ 500,000 to Delaware's anti-addiction efforts, where there were 282 fatal overdoses of all drugs in 2016, a 40 percent increase the previous year.
"My answer is," That's wonderful, but we're not stopping, "said Hansen, a Democrat.
She said that if her tax measure had been in the past year, she would have pocketed more than $ 9 million.
The Drug Industry Recent spending on anti-addiction programs has been a hot topic in the Minnesota Legislature, where the overdose rate is lower than that of most states, but opioids still claim 395 lives in 2016 – a rise of 18 percent over that
State Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican whose son died from an overdose of heroin According to opioid manufacturers and distributors, the drug programs should be paid separately, saying the rebate – about $ 250 million Minnesota's year 2016 is set to outweigh drug overpayment.
Another Republican MP, Senator Julie Rosen, said she has this Mona t Leave a Meeting Representatives of the pharmaceutical industry said they wasted their time.
"They know that they spend way too much money defending their position rather than being part of the solution," she said.
Pharmaceutical Industry Representative They said they had met with Rosen several times and were "determined to continue working with her".
The pharmaceutical companies have a long history of fighting against the opioid crisis. A 2016 survey by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity revealed that Opioide and its allies spent $ 880 million on policy and lobbying from 2006 to 2015.
The industry has so far been able to halt the laws of Minnesota opioid manufacturers by dosing. With the bill facing Resistance, Rosen and a Democratic co-sponsor, Senator Chris Eaton, said they are considering changing tactics and changing them.
That could increase the $ 235 annual royalty on opioid manufacturers or require drug makers and distributors to pay $ 20 million a year based on the proportion of opioids they sell in the state. This approach is based on one that was adopted at the beginning of the spring as part of the budget in New York – the only state that has yet introduced an opioid tax.
Eaton, whose daughter died from an overdose of heroin in 2007, said her goal was finding a way to create and fund a structure that ensured that addiction treatment was "just as routine as the treatment of diabetes or cardiac arrest"