March 30, 2018
ARLINGTON, Va. — HDA President and CEO John M. Gray released the following statement after the passage of the 2019 New York State budget.
“At a time when pharmaceutical distributors, policymakers and patients are seeking effective solutions to the opioid crisis, the recently enacted New York ‘Opioid Stewardship Assessment’ tax fails to address the root causes of the epidemic. New York’s opioid tax ignores some of the comprehensive, patient-focused measures previously proposed by the New York State Senate, and disregards the widespread opposition conveyed by patient organizations, pharmacy and provider groups. For this reason, HDA strongly opposes implementation of the ‘Opioid Stewardship Assessment’ contained in the recent state budget. While proponents claim the tax provides funding for opioid prevention efforts, it is a misguided approach that is fraught with flawed policy measures that make it entirely inoperable for any entity, including the state of New York.
“Rather than resorting to a last-minute, ill-conceived proposal, policymakers should prioritize reforms that balance the needs of patients with legitimate pain issues as well as efforts from stakeholders across the supply chain who are actively working to prevent opioid abuse and misuse. As structured, this tax will do little to address the amount or supply of prescription opioids in the market, nor will it address the prevalence of over-prescribing among certain providers that contributed to the epidemic in the first place. Instead it adds greater costs to patients, taxpayers and the broader health system in order to fill gaps in the state’s budget.
“Addressing the crisis moving forward will require a comprehensive, system-wide strategy. Already, several states across the nation have implemented meaningful and comprehensive reforms to decrease the prevalence of opioid overprescribing and to offer comprehensive treatment and support programs for patients. These reforms present an effective pathway forward for model legislation and proposals that will serve the best interests of patients and the state.
“HDA and our primary pharmaceutical distributor members are committed to working with policymakers to achieve effective solutions to the public health crisis. However, those solutions should focus on addressing the root causes of the epidemic, not make up for gaps in the state budget.”
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s non-profit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.