A dozen business groups in a letter to top lawmakers in the state Legislature this week urged them to oppose any expansion to the state's prescription opioid tax.
The letter, signed by a coalition of statewide and local business organizations, pointed the newly created Medicaid Redesign Team, known as MRT II, for having the potential of expanding the tax to other medications amid a shortfall in the program.
"Given this year’s $6 billion budget deficit and the governor’s directive that the MRT II look for 'new resources' to fill that gap, we are gravely concerned that this imprudent tax will be expanded to other medications," the letter states. "Just as many warned, the enactment of the opioid tax sets a dangerous precedent resulting in less access and more costs for patients who rely on these important medications. These outcomes are unacceptable, especially as New York lawmakers aim to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs."
The letter warned that new taxes could further burden businesses and increase the cost of health insurance.
"The business community respectfully requests that the MRT II and lawmakers reject any policy that taxes a legitimate pharmaceutical product," they wrote in the letter. "This session, we encourage you to work alongside the healthcare and business communities to implement policies that ensure responsible funding for needed government programs while avoiding the imposition of additional costs on the business and patient communities."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year proposed a plan that would study importing prescription drugs from Canada in order to reduce costs.