California is looking to impose a surcharge on prescription opioids to fund treatment for addicts. The proposed measure introduced by California Assembly member Kevin McCarty of Sacramento would place a 1-cent-per-milligram tax on prescription opioids. Prescription opioid wholesalers would be responsible for paying the tax, but it is likely those charges would fall onto the shoulders of insurers and consumers.
Drugmakers spent more than $800 million between 2006 and 2015 on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts against state measures aimed at limiting access to prescription opioids. They say the measures will keep painkillers out of the hands of patients in need.
The prescription opioid market was valued at $20 billion in 2015, when more than 250 million prescriptions were written.
If passed, California would become the first state in the country to tax prescription opioids. Connecticut, Minnesota and Pennsylvania have tried to pass similar measures.