Minnesota lawmakers: Tax drug makers over opioid crisis

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers and activists are making a push to require drug companies to pay more of the costs of dealing with the opioid crisis.

A House health and human services committee had its first hearing scheduled Wednesday on a bill to require manufacturers and wholesalers that sell or distribute opioids in Minnesota to pay registration fees as high as $500,000. The current fee is just $235.

It’s a different approach than the “penny a pill” legislation that stalled out last year amid opposition from the pharmaceutical industry.

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A bipartisan group of representatives and senators said at a news conference Wednesday that the higher fees would provide a steady source of funding to help compensate taxpayers for the costs that state and local governments are incurring due to the opioid crisis.