As PJM’s Tyler O’Neil reported on Thursday, distillers nationwide that used their facilities to produce hand sanitizer when there was a massive increase in demand this spring because of the pandemic were rewarded for their generosity with a $14,000 bill from the FDA.
What happened was the CARES Act classified distilleries that produced hand sanitizer as “over-the-counter drug monograph facilities,” and those types of facilities were also subject to user fees in order to fund the FDA’s regulatory activities.
“Not only did the CARES Act penalize distilleries’ good deeds, but it did so in order to fund the FDA’s regulation,” noted Tyler O’Neil. “Regulation that hampered distilleries in their attempt to provide much-needed hand sanitizer.”
This story has a somewhat happy ending for the distilleries that were blindsided by this insane fee. HHS Chief of Staff Brian Harrison announced Thursday evening that they will not be on the hook for that $14,000 fee.
“Small businesses who stepped up to fight COVID-19 should be applauded by their government, not taxed for doing so,” Harrison said in a statement. “I’m pleased to announce we have directed FDA to cease enforcement of these arbitrary, surprise user fees. Happy New Year, distilleries, and cheers to you for helping keep us safe!”
“I’m pleased to announce we have directed FDA to cease enforcement of these arbitrary, surprise user fees. Happy New Year, distilleries, and cheers to you for helping keep us safe!” (2/2)
— HHS Office of Public Affairs (@SpoxHHS) December 31, 2020
Over 800 distilleries nationwide stepped up for their country to produce hand sanitizer.
Matt Margolis is the author of the book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis