Delaware Public Media

Gov. Carney signs bill to charge fee to opioid drug makers

Jun 12, 2019

Delaware is the first state in the U.S. to levy a fee on drug manufacturers for the opioids dispensed in the state.

Gov. John Carney (D) signed a bill creating the fee Wednesday.

The state will tax drug makers based on the strength of opioid pills dispensed statewide. Hospitals and hospice care are exempted. The money will go to drug treatment programs.

Mary Beth Cichocki’s son died of an opioid overdose in 2015. She said she hopes the new law will stop manufacturers from pushing doctors to overprescribe the pills.

“I’m so glad it’s here now, but I’m so sad it wasn’t here for parents like me and Dave you know that needed it when our kids were struggling,” she said.

A judge struck down a similar law in New York last year for language barring companies from passing the fee down to consumers. Delaware’s law doesn’t have the language.

Critics say the new law may lead to higher prescription costs and drug shortages.