A “penny a pill” tax on drug manufacturers and distributors is out, but they’d have to pay higher annual license fees under a proposal by influential Republicans and Democrats in the Minnesota Senate. “Currently they pay 235 dollars… to sell in Minnesota. That’s one of the lowest in the nation. 235 dollars is all they pay a year,” says Senator Julie Rosen. The Vernon Center Republican won’t say what the license fee increase would be, because negotiations on the bill are still under way. Money raised would go to programs to combat opioid addiction.
The proposal in the Minnesota Senate would designate 20 million dollars a year for a variety of programs. Brooklyn Center Democrat Chris Eaton indicates the dollar amount is too low, but acknowledges political reality. “If we raise 20 million a year, that’s gonna be a drop in the bucket…. If I had my way, it would be much more, but this is a bipartisan bill, and this bill is one that we can get both sides to agree on,” Eaton says.