Fee to fund opioid abuse killed by ‘backroom lobbying,’ say advocates

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson
Minnesota House of Representatives

Jon Collins of MPR says, “Supporters of legislation that would have charged pharmaceutical companies a fee to address opioid abuse condemned Tuesday what they described as a backroom lobbying campaign to kill the legislation. ‘In the end, Big Pharma, their army of lobbyists, and the chamber and Medical Alley won,’ said state Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center. ‘The victims, their families, the people currently addicted and the Minnesota taxpayers lost — and I’m angry and sad.’ The bill that included the fee passed the state Senate 60-6, and would have raised $20 million in licensing fees from pharmaceutical companies every year. But that fee failed to make it into the final budget bill, replaced by $16 million from the state general fund.” 

Even out of uniform, you can always tell by the shoes. Stribber Andy Mannix says, “Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told Minneapolis police officers Tuesday they will not be marching in uniform in the city’s annual Pride parade, following a public clash last year with some event organizers who did not want law enforcement to participate at all. ‘My decision is based in part on the adamant opposition of law enforcement’s participation by some representatives of our local LGBTIQ communities who have stated they feel strongly they do not want any law enforcement officers marching in uniform in the parade,’ Arradondo said in a statement on behalf of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).” 

Better than zero. In the Strib Evan Ramstad reports, “A week after one of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies announced it was moving out of state, the business magazine released its annual ranking and showed two of the state’s firms rising onto the list. The additions of St. Paul-based Securian Financial and Medina-based Polaris Industries bring the total number of Minnesota-based firms in the Fortune 500 to 19. Those 19 include Mosaic Co., which announced last week it will move its headquarters from Plymouth to Tampa, Fla..”

Pleasant little Minnesota lakeside real estate story by Tim McKeough in The New York Times, “As a child, Ellen Moses spent summers at her family’s 1930s lake house in Detroit Lakes, Minn., where her father used to tell her a story about how the home was built on top of tree stumps. Ms. Moses, now 55, always assumed that was nothing more than family folklore. But when she called in a contractor to peel up the floor as part of a kitchen renovation in late 2016, she was suddenly faced with proof: The story, it turned out, was true.” Sounds like the “crib” technique.

You’d feel this. A Forum News Service story says, “A 25-year-old woman was driving south of Hill City late Monday when her vehicle struck a moose in an area atypical for the animal. The Minnesota State Patrol reported Jaime Leigh Wurtz of Otsego suffered non-life-threatening injuries when she struck a moose while traveling north on U.S. 169 in Aitkin County. … The area of Aitkin County where the crash occurred is to the west of typical moose habitat. No information was available about the moose.” Probably walked away with scratches.

Good to know. Rilyn Eischens of the Strib says, “There have been just over 400 tornadoes recorded in Minnesota since 2010 – four times more than during the 1950s. But this doesn’t mean tornadoes are happening more often. We’re just better at spotting them, thanks to technological advances. Still, limited record-keeping in the early years of tornado tracking means experts don’t have enough information to say whether climate change is influencing the frequency or strength of tornadoes, as has been documented with other dangerous weather like hurricanes.”

People, the Sixties are over. William Bornhoft of Patch says, “A new analysis from Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group finds that Minnesota has a high prevalence of excessive drinking among seniors, people age 65 and older, especially when compared with the rest of the country. America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that Minnesota has the 48th highest prevalence of all 50 states. In the past year, excessive drinking increased from 7.2 percent to 9.2 percent. The report also finds that many seniors in Minnesota do not have a dedicated health care provider (46th lowest out of all 50 states). Minnesota ranks fourth highest overall for senior health, however.”

It’s 2005 again, apparently. For MPR, Max Nesterak writes, “The Twin Cities housing market is booming this year. Real estate experts say they haven’t seen properties sell this fast in the 16-county metro area since the 1990s. It’s a great time to be a seller — median sale prices have never been higher. But for buyers, there’s increasing pressure to ante up: Half of all properties are selling above asking price. What’s making this market so hot? Low inventory. The number of homes on the market is hovering near historic lows, and construction isn’t keeping pace with demand.’’ 

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/23/2018 - 10:48 am.

    Externlizing costs is the Republican way

    Pharmaceutical companies create a mess by pushing dangerous drugs to doctors and their patients. In one case shipping 20.8 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to Williamson, W.Va., a town with fewer than 3,200 people. All the while minimizing obvious problems they’re causing. They make huge profits, but can’t be bothered with even a small fee to help pay for the cleanup. Republicans, the party of “fiscal responsibility,” decide it would make more sense to soak the taxpayers rather than their campaign donor$.

    This is called externalizing costs. The cost is cleaning up the opioid crisis and rather that pay it you find another sucker to take that on. With Republican help they found you and me.

  2. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 05/23/2018 - 04:50 pm.

    Mr. Tobias,

    the prescription opioid problem happens to be multifactorial and the role of pharmaceutical companies is very small. Most of these drugs are off patent and there is very little profit for them. The problem lies in the fact the practice of medicine has become consumer and satisfaction based rather than outcome based. This is where pain perception enters the mix. It is a huge component of satisfaction.

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