In his second major pharma bill in as many weeks, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced legislation to levy fees on opioid makers to cover the costs of addiction treatment.
The proposed legislation would fund a “treatment surge” of $2 billion per year for the next ten years through fees on opioid makers, who would pay each year’s fee in proportion to their opioid sales since 1999. Drugmakers who manufactured the most opioids would pay the highest percentage of the annual fee, while manufacturers of opioids used exclusively for addiction treatment or for cancer or hospice patients would be exempt.
The bill would also make available additional funds on a state-by-state basis. Under Merkley’s projections, all state funding would more than double, with funding for Pennsylvania, for example, going from $59.37 billion to $125.2 billion and that of Texas going from $144.98 billion to $305.74 billion.