Proposal Would Charge Opioid Manufacturers "Impact Fee" in Delaw - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposal Would Charge Opioid Manufacturers "Impact Fee" in Delaware

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DOVER, Del. --- A bill filed this week in Delaware's legislature would create a fee to manufacturers of opioid medications dispensed within the state that would be used to pay for drug addiction and treatment programs.

Senate Bill 36 creates an Opioid Impact Fund that would be comprised of revenue from a fee charged to opioid manufacturers based on how often those drugs are dispensed, as recorded by the state's Prescription Monitoring Program. The rate would be set a penny per Morphine Milligram Equivalent for brand name opioids or a quarter of a penny for generic equivalents.

The bill stipulates the fund would be used to pay for things like opioid addiction prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse disorders tied to opioids.

Sen. Stephanie Hansen (D-Middletown) said the intention of the legislation was to make drug companies accountable for an opioid and heroin epidemic she said has been caused by drugs they manufactured.

"It's only fair and equitable that you should have a seat at the table and also contribute to solving that issue that you're causing," she said.

The legislation is similar to a bill that was introduced last year but did not pass.

Kim Robbins, a pharmacist and executive director of the Delaware Pharmacists Society, said she the cost of paying the fee will trickle down to the manufacturers to those who dispense the medications.

Many pharmacies, Robbins said, are struggling with prescription insurance providers like medicaid over how much their businesses are paid for drugs they dispense and increased costs for opioid medications could make it more difficult for patients to find them.

"If we don't get paid for them we are not going to dispense them," she said. "Our fear as pharmacists is that we won't be able to take care of our patients."

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