On March 13, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to raise registration fees on all DEA registrants. The proposed fees represent a 21% increase over current fees for all registrant categories. DEA indicates that the increase will provide an additional $318 million for the Diversion Fee Account over the next three fiscal years.
As discussed here, the Controlled Substances Act requires that registration fees “shall be set at a level that ensures the recovery of the full costs of operating the various aspects of [the diversion control program].” 21 USC 886a(1)(C). DEA alleges in the NPRM that “[w]ithout an increase in registration fees, DEA will be unable to continue current operations” and will be unable to comply with the statutory mandate to recover all costs associated with managing the Diversion Control Program (DCP).
To support this doom and gloom prediction, DEA points to several reasons to justify the fee increase. They include, but are not limited to, the ongoing opioid crisis, the growing number of DEA registrants, a need for additional personnel at Headquarters and in Field Division Offices throughout the country, and additional requirements imposed by Congress in recent legislation.