New York State takes $100 million in tax or fee revenue from opioid sellers

New York just started imposing an opioid “fee”; text of the law is here. That’s the fee or tax part of New York’s Opioid Stewardship Act, part of an omnibus health and mental hygiene Act, which is here. There is a lot of non-tax stuff in there

New York will collect  from opioid sellers every year $100 million (unindexed for inflation). Here’s how. After the year ends, all opioid manufacturers and distributors will report how many morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) they sold or distributed. Each seller’s fraction of the total amount of MMEs sold will be its fraction of the $100 million due.   Retailers ordinarily don’t pay tax, and cascading sales (where one product changes hands several times) are taxed only once.

There are three carve-outs.

The first is the standard excise-tax-style carve-out for products “manufactured in New York state, but whose final point of delivery or sale is outside of New York state.” The second is for products “ sold or distributed to entities certified to operate pursuant to article thirty-two of the mental hygiene law [relating to chemical dependence serive providers], or article forty of the public health law. The third is for buprenorphine, methadone and morphine.

The revenue goes into an Opioid Stewardship Fund, to provide opioid treatment, recovery and prevention and education services; and to provide support for prescription monitoring.

I still like taxing advertising , which aims at the “flow” — new users — rather than the “stock” — users who have been using for a while.   But this fee or tax actually got enacted.

More details here: https://www.nyhealthlawblog.com/2018/04/05/pharmaceutical-reforms-in-2018-19-new-york-state-budget/. The language in the enacted Act my not correspond exactly to the link at the top here. I’ll double check at some point.

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