Does New York’s opioid tax idea make sense?

To replace a tax or fee on opioids, discussed here that has been ruled unconstitutional, Governor Cuomo’s New York budget proposes a straightforward opioid tax based on morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs):

The tax is would be a quarter of a cent ($.0025) per MME if wholesale the cost per MME is less than fifty cents ($.50).

The tax is would be a cent and a half ($.015) per MME if wholesale the cost per MME is greater than or equal to fifty cents.

So weak opioids would taxed less than strong ones.  Can’t the user just take a lot of weak opioids and get the effect of one strong dose?  Are opioid products so different that they merit discontinuous tax burdens?  And why have a flat tax amount once a threshold is reached?

There’s another problem.  The American Council on Science and Health arguesat length that “Opioid Policies Based On Morphine Milligram Equivalents Are Automatically Flawed.”  I can’t say that’s wrong – or right.




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