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A Minnesota bill seeking to establish an Opioid Stewardship Fund doesn’t address the root cause of the opioid crisis – the illegal sale of narcotics – and will only increase costs to taxpayers, insurance companies and their customers, critics argue. And while well-intentioned, it potentially could drive pharmaceutical companies out of the state, they say.
The bill, HF 400, passed the state House by a vote of 94-34 and awaits action in the Senate. If passed into law, it would create an opioid stewardship fund, an opiate product registration fee, and modify provisions related to opioid addiction prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery.
Rep - Tony - Albright - Assistant - Minority
Rep. Tony Albright, Assistant Minority Leader, who voted against the bill, has proposed several alternatives over the years, including better access to treatment and prevention resources.
The fund’s revenue would come from fees on manufacturers and wholesalers of opioid medication. Board members of the Opioid Stewardship Fund would determine fees based on its $20 million annual budget.
Fees - Distributors - Costs - Everyone - Nothing
But imposing arbitrary fees on pharmaceutical distributors will only increase costs for everyone and do nothing to address the opioid crisis, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, argues.
HF 400 "could even make the opioid crisis worse," Norquist says. "The legislation would impose a harmful new tax that would hurt patients in need of medicine by driving up costs directly and causing supply problems that would further hike costs and create access issues."
Action - Liberty - Advocacy - Group - Bill
Action 4 Liberty, an advocacy group that opposes the bill, argues "government should not get involved in the decision-making of prescribing pain medication from medical professionals."
The bill dictates how much opioid pain medication a doctor can prescribe to patients who’ve had surgery or undergone a major trauma. It states, "when used for the treatment of acute pain associated with a major trauma or surgical procedure, initial prescriptions for opiate or narcotic...
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