Citizens Against Government Waste Releases Analysis of Minnesota Opioid Tax

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released an analysis
of misguided provisions in Gov. Tim Walz’s (D-Minn.) budget that would
impose new taxes on pharmaceutical drugs in the name of halting the
opioid crisis. Below are key sections of the analysis:

“It is common knowledge that addiction to opioids and other controlled
substances such as fentanyl is a national epidemic that needs to be
addressed. But, the plans being offered by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz
and the state legislature will drive up pharmaceutical costs, hurt
patients, and fail to solve the opioid crisis in Minnesota.”

“The budget includes increased annual registration taxes and additional
controlled substances taxes on pharmacies, researchers, pharmaceutical
companies, drug wholesalers, and practitioners, totaling $7.9 million.
It would also create an annual manufacturer and wholesaler opioid fee,
based on total units sold, that in the aggregate of $11 million and $7
million respectively.”

“Policy makers need to understand that while opioid overdose deaths have
increased, the nature of the epidemic has changed since 2012. The opioid
addition problem is wide-ranging and goes beyond legal prescription
drugs and patients using them correctly. According to the Center for
Disease Control, the opioid prescribing rate has dropped by 28 percent
between 2012 and 2017. Limiting the dates of prescriptions, drug
monitoring programs, and educating doctors on the use of opioids have
helped to reduce their use, while allowing access to them by patients
who desperately need the medications.”

“A 2018 Drug Enforcement Administration report stated most of the
illicit fentanyl, the most lethal category of opioids, is being brought
into the U.S. from China and Mexico. Fentanyl is also being mixed with
other controlled substances and is often being sold as a counterfeit
prescription pain reliever.”

“There have been endless complaints about pharmaceutical costs rising,
but taxing manufacturers and wholesalers is an irrational response as
these extra fees will either be passed along to patients and taxpayers
or drug manufacturers will choose not to sell their products, which
means less competition and higher prices.”

Against Government Waste
is the nation’s largest nonpartisan,
nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement in government.


Curtis Kalin (202) 467-5318

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