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HDA Statement on Rhode Island Opioid Fee

June 15, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) issued the following statement in response to the Rhode Island Legislature’s inclusion of a $5 million fee on prescription opioids in the state budget.

“The Rhode Island Legislature’s decision to include an annual fee on prescription opioid medications in the state budget is misguided. With many similarities to New York’s Opioid Stewardship Act, Rhode Island’s measure will most certainly impact patients.

“As logistics experts within the healthcare supply chain, HDA and its members have continuously sought to educate state lawmakers on the unintended consequences these taxes could invite. Prescription opioids are commonly used by patients to manage pain, including by those undergoing cancer treatment and suffering from chronic pain. We fear that these are the very individuals that could see increased healthcare costs or even limited access to critical medications if this bill is passed.

“The Rhode Island tax also fails to address the root cause of the opioid epidemic. By adding punitive measures on wholesale distributors, lawmakers are neither reducing the supply or demand of opioid medication, nor are they addressing illegal use. Wholesale distributors simply ensure medications and medical supplies prescribed by licensed professionals are safely and securely delivered to healthcare settings nationwide.

“We urge lawmakers to oppose the tax on opioids included in the budget and encourage them to work with the healthcare supply chain to find a more effective solution to the opioid epidemic — one that does not harm patients.”


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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