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ADA urges DEA to ‘reconsider’ proposed fee hike

Washington—The Association urged the Drug Enforcement Administration to recalculate a proposed fee increase as imposing “an unfair burden” on dentists prescribing controlled substances. Fees for three-year registrants would increase by $180 to $732 under the proposal.

The Association “understands the statutory requirement” for a fee structure sufficient to cover diversion control costs, but the DEA proposal “fails to recognize the inequality of these calculations when considering the relative magnitudes of annual revenue and income for the different registrant classes,” said the ADA comments on the proposal.

“The ADA is concerned that an unfair burden is placed on provider registrants compared to drug manufacturers and distributors.”

The last DEA fee adjustment, which took effect Nov. 1, 2006, raised practitioner fees to the current $184 a year or $551 for three years.

A new fee calculation is needed to cover additional costs of diversion control activities, the DEA said in the July 6, 2011 notice of proposed rulemaking. “In addition, the mission of the DCP (diversion control program) has been expanded by Congress and by the need to address an explosion in the abuse of prescription drugs that seriously impact public health and safety. The National Drug Control Strategy is focused on all aspects of the problem—supply, demand and treatment. The Office of Diversion Control at DEA is focused on the supply side of this serious threat to the public health and safety.”

The Association statement questions the equity rather than the necessity of the proposed fee hikes.

“This inequity seems even more egregious considering that drug manufacturers and distributors are in the business of making and distributing drugs while providers that only prescribe medications for their patients generate no income from writing a prescription,” the Association said. “Even providers that dispense or administer medication in their offices would only generate an extremely small fraction of their income from the fees for providing those medications.

“The ADA urges the DEA to reconsider these ratios to account for the relative incomes or revenue of the different registrant classes. A more equitable distribution of fees will reduce the burden on the provider while not significantly impacting the revenue of the manufacturers or distributors and while still meeting the statutory requirement to fully fund the Diversion Control Program.”