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HDA Statement on Passage of Opioid Excise Tax in New York State

April 1, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. — Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) President and CEO John M. Gray issued a statement in response to the passage of the New York state budget, which includes an annual excise tax on prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors.

“For the second year in a row, Governor Cuomo and his administration have prioritized political posturing and funding state coffers at the expense of New York’s most vulnerable patients.

“As the logistics arm of the healthcare supply chain, the wholesale distribution industry has repeatedly advised the Cuomo administration and state lawmakers about the consequences a punitive tax will have on New York’s healthcare system, including its impact on the affordability and accessibility of prescription medications for patients. Such a substantial tax sets a dangerous precedent, and is a concern that has been reflected by not only our industry, but by many consumers, physicians, pharmacists and state legislators.

“Healthcare distributors do not conduct research, manufacture, market or prescribe medications, nor do they influence prescribing patterns, the demand for specific products, or patient-benefit designs. HDA members simply ensure that hundreds of thousands of healthcare facilities nationwide are equipped with the medications they need to treat patients safely and effectively. The medicines HDA members distribute are based only on orders from DEA-licensed pharmacies and hospitals tied to prescriptions written by licensed physicians.

“HDA and its members do not advocate for the use of opioids. We support policies that would decrease opioid demand and dispensing, while ensuring legitimate patients maintain access to affordable pain treatments. Unfortunately, by financially penalizing the wholesale distribution industry for completing the orders of trusted medical providers, the Cuomo administration has placed a logistics-focused industry in a very difficult position.

“HDA is disappointed today that Governor Cuomo and the New York Legislature again voted against the accessibility of affordable medications. We will continue to work with lawmakers to find a more sustainable solution to the opioid epidemic.”


The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and 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 nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.


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