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Will drug companies help pay for the opioid crisis in Delaware?

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The Senate Health Committee today is considering a bill that would establish a fund to address the rising costs of the opioid epidemic.

The Prescription Opioid Impact Fund would be supported by a quarterly fee of $0.01 per morphine milligram equivalent on drug manufacturers.

Proponents of the bill say it holds pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in Delaware’s opioid crisis, while creating a much-needed funding source.

“Drug companies helped create this mess. We’re asking them to help us fix it,” said Sen. Stephanie Hansen. “There’s a clear connection between the over-prescription of painkillers like OxyContin, the growth of the addiction epidemic, and the nationwide explosion of heroin and fentanyl overdoses. Taxpayers and everyday families have overwhelmingly paid the financial and emotional costs of that tragedy.”

The Office of the Controller General projects the fund would raise about $8.5 million in the first year and more than $24 million over the next three years.

“Advocates, recovering addicts, families and treatment centers are all trying to manage this crisis with limited resources, and government has a responsibility to help,” Hansen said. “Holding accountable the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies who sowed these seeds is a matter of basic fairness and justice.”

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