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New Delaware opioid tax generates almost $1 million

March 18, 2020 GMT

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A new tax on opioid painkillers in Delaware has generated almost $1 million to help support abuse prevention and treatment programs, officials said Wednesday.

The Division of Professional Regulation had sent invoices to 41 companies as of last week for more than $547,000, with more than $483,000 received for third-quarter 2019 invoices. Fourth-quarter invoices to 42 companies for more than $528,000 were sent earlier this month.

The new law imposes a per-pill tax on prescription opioids ranging from a few cents to a dollar or more, based on their strength and whether they are brand-name or generic. Officials estimated last year that the tax would raise about $8 million over three years.

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The law imposes a per-pill tax on prescription opioids of one cent for every morphine milligram equivalent, or MME, of any brand-name opioid dispensed in Delaware, and one-quarter of a cent for every MME of a generic opioid.

By way of example, a single 10-milligram pill of the common generic opioid oxycodone carries a 4-cent tax, while the surcharge on a brand-name equivalent of the same relatively low dose is 15 cents.

Companies that refuse to pay the tax can be charged a penalty of up to $100 a day or 10 percent of the total tax due, whichever is greater.

Officials are still working on recommendations for how the funds will be spent. The first round of proposals is expected to be approved later this year.