Lawmakers pass tobacco tax increase
After a 92-day budget impasse, the House of Delegates passed a bill increasing
the tax on tobacco Monday 63-35, then sent the bill (HB 1012) to the Senate
where it was approved by a vote of 29-3 later that evening.  The bill was then sent
to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin who is expected to sign it.
If approved by the Governor the tax on all tobacco products is to generate $98
million in new revenues.  Effective July 1, the new tax on a pack of cigarettes will
be $1.20, up 65-cents from the current 55-cents.
Controlled substance Rx’s down
Despite increases in the number of prescriptions, the number of controlled
substances being dispensed in West Virginia is on pace to drop to its lowest
amount in five years, according to a report Michael Goff, administrator of the
WV’s Controlled Substance Monitoring Program, presented legislators.
He said prescribers are writing more prescriptions but for lesser quantities.
WV pharmacies dispensed 295 million doses of controlled substances in 2011.
By the end of this year, the number is expected to decline to 268 million pills,
a 9 percent drop over five years.
In an interview with WVDA Executive Director Richard Stevens, Goff said the
WV Controlled Substance Monitoring Program currently receives over 13,000
entries daily.  Entries include name of the prescriber, name of patient, name
and quantity of the drug product dispensed.  This data are sent the Program
by pharmacies within 24 hours of their dispensing the drug.