Opioid Dealers Win Again

Robert Edwards May 23, 2018

In today's Star Tribune on the Opinion Page was a report on the recently completed legislative session. In particular it dealt with the fact that a bipartisan bill to tax the opioid industry to help pay for some of the damage their drugs have caused, didn't make it to the governor's desk. Lobbyists from the drugmakers succeeded in killing the bill which would have provided about $20 million to help cities defray some of the cost of dealing with the opioid epidemic which was caused, in substantial part, by the drug manufacturers' deceptive marketing schemes. The opinion piece went on to point out that New York recently passed a similar bill, but to the tune of $100 million. Given Minnesota's population compared to that of New York, $20 million is fair.

This is just another example of the fact that (mostly Republican) lawmakers are acutely aware of which side their bread is buttered on. They know that funding for their political party comes from the drugmakers, not from average citizens. While they talk a lot about looking out for the little guy, when it comes to the actual votes, it seems that they are lacking in the necessary character to do the right thing.

This is another example of large corporations privatizing the profits while socializing the risk. They rake in hundreds of millions of dollars every year on the sale of opioids, leaving the taxpayers and innocent family members to bear the cost of the dead. What would bring the drugmakers to heel would be a large class action suit on behalf of family members who lost a son/daughter/mother/father/sister/brother to opioids. However, federal legislation protects the drug companies from such lawsuits.