Governor Mark Dayton is proposing a “penny a pill” tax on drug manufacturers to help fight the opioid epidemic in Minnesota. Republican Representative Dave Baker from Willmar, who lost a son to opioid addiction, supports the measure. Baker says, “We can’t do it alone. Minnesota taxpayers have been funding this…, have been finding every option we can,… but we are running short of the resources needed.” Baker and others note it would be less expensive for drug companies now facing lawsuits — and provide more money for treatment — if they would agree to pay a penny per pill.
Officials say emergency responders don’t have enough Narcan antidote to treat opioid overdoses, and Lexi Reed with the Steve Rummler Hope Network says one example, “The first responders/law enforcements in Duluth are asking us to provide them with their Naloxone [Narcan] because they don’t have enough…. And what they need is 36 thousand dollars’ worth of product for one year, in that county. So that’s just one county.”
Governor Dayton says the “penny a pill” tax would pay for prevention and treatment programs, plus beef up law enforcement efforts.