Opioid overdose deaths have risen dramatically in recent years. Last year, there were 395 opioid overdose deaths in Minnesota, which is an 18% increase over the previous year. Senate DFL leaders have been trying to pass this bipartisan legislation this year, but drug companies and some Republicans opposed the “stewardship fee”, holding the legislation in committee.
In response, Senate DFLers offered an amendment to the omnibus finance bill to revive this important legislation. The penny a pill amendment establishes a drug manufacturer stewardship fee of one cent per unit of drug dispensed. The fee could raise over $20 million a year to fund a comprehensive prevention, treatment, and recovery effort that would help curb opioid abuse and save lives across Minnesota – getting help to thousands of people who need it now.
The amendment was withdrawn with assurances from the Republican leadership that they will have a bill next week to address this issue.