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Minnesota Senate passes bill to combat opioid epidemic

The Minnesota Senate has passed legislation to force drug companies help pay for the costs of responding to the opioid epidemic.

Posted: Apr 1, 2019 2:46 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has passed legislation to force drug companies help pay for the costs of responding to the opioid epidemic.

Senators approved the bill on a 59-6 vote Monday. It contains some differences compared with an opioid bill that passed the House 94-34 two weeks ago, so the legislation now goes to a House-Senate conference committee that will craft a compromise.

Both versions would sharply raise the annual registration fees for pharmaceutical manufacturers and drug wholesalers that sell or distribute opioids in Minnesota. The money would go into a fund that would support a wide range of prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies.

The biggest difference is that under the Senate version, high fees would sunset if the state reaches big settlements in opioid lawsuits against drug companies.

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