Cal­i­for­nia con­sid­ers tax­ing pre­scrip­tion opi­oids

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Steven Ross John­son

Cal­i­for­nia is look­ing to im­pose a sur­charge on pre­scrip­tion opi­oids to fund treat­ment for ad­dicts. The pro­posed mea­sure in­tro­duced by Cal­i­for­nia Assem­bly mem­ber Kevin McCarty of Sacra­mento would place a 1-cent-per-mil­ligram tax on pre­scrip­tion opi­oids. Pre­scrip­tion opi­oid whole­salers would be re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the tax, but it is likely those charges would fall onto the shoul­ders of in­sur­ers and con­sumers.

Drug­mak­ers spent more than $800 mil­lion be­tween 2006 and 2015 on cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions and lob­by­ing ef­forts against state mea­sures aimed at lim­it­ing access to pre­scrip­tion opi­oids. They say the mea­sures will keep painkillers out of the hands of pa­tients in need. The pre­scrip­tion opi­oid mar­ket was val­ued at $20 bil­lion in 2015, when more than 250 mil­lion pre­scrip­tions were writ­ten.

If passed, Cal­i­for­nia would be­come the first state in the coun­try to tax pre­scrip­tion opi­oids. Con­necti­cut, Min­nesota and Penn­syl­va­nia have tried to pass sim­i­lar mea­sures.

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