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Flushing out Ohio Issue 2

According to Cleveland.com, only 15.8 percent of voters who participated in their poll understand Ohio Issue 2. There’s a lot of  confusing rhetoric surrounding the legislation but we are going to do our best to sort out the crap and leave you with the facts.

Here is goes…

The issue seeks to resolve the issue with rising prescription drug costs. If passed, it would require Medicaid and state retirement systems, state employees, prisons and other state programs to pay no more than the Department of Veteran Administration (VA) for pharmaceuticals. The VA receives a discount of at least 24 percent but that isn’t a concrete number.

One part of the ballot initiative unrelated to pharmaceutical pricing would allow the proponents to have a say in the initiative’s defense should it be challenged in court. Taxpayers would be required to pay attorney fees while its being litigated.

Official language: “To require state agencies to not pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law” –What is Issue 2 website (note: this website describes itself as “the official ballot language for Issue 2, as provided by the Ohio Secretary of State and the bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board” yet on the FAQ link, it takes visitors to the “No on Issue 2” website)

Reasons to support + some facts:

  • The support is calling it “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act”
  • “Could be the first step toward seeing lower drug prices” -Gerard Anderson, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health per The Dispatch
  • “Their grossly misleading TV ads are funded by drug companies and their greedy CEOs who are pouring millions of dollars into this campaign because they desperately want to protect their huge profit margins” -Dennis Willard, spokesman for Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices per The Toledo Blade
  • Funded largely by Aids Healthcare Foundation of LA –The Dispatch
  • Estimated to save taxpayers between $164 million and $536 million annually –The Dispatch
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorses Issue 2

Here’s the Yes on Issue 2 website.

Here’s a Vote Yes on Issue 2 video ad:

Reasons to oppose + some facts:

  • Opposition is calling it “Deceptive Rx Issue”
  • Consumer access to new and pricer drugs would be come scarce, pharmaceutical companies could raise prices elsewhere to make up for lost capital -Jay Mirtallo, a professor of clinical pharmacy and director of the master’s program in Health Systems Pharmacy at Ohio State University per The Dispatch
  • Drug companies could raise prices on consumers not covered under the proposal- Jay Mirtallo, a professor of clinical pharmacy and director of the master’s program in Health Systems Pharmacy at Ohio State University per The Dispatch
  • Largely funded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (the association representing drugmakers) –The Dispatch
  • The state already receives nearly the same discount on drugs as the VA (23.1 percent required by law) for programs like Medicaid –The Dispatch
  • “We can’t be sure that the VA receives a discount of 24 percent since the contracts are kept secret…We don’t know what their bottom line is so we could be setting a standard that is impossible to meet” -Dale Butland, a spokesman for the opposition group Stop the Deceptive Rx Ballot Initiative per Cleveland.com

Here’s the No on Issue 2 website.

Here’s a Vote No on 2 video ad:

At the end of the day, experts tell The Dispatch that consumers are angry about rising drug prices and that’s unlikely to change regardless of Issue 2’s outcome.

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