Issue 2 is a Problem, Not a Cure

Premise: The Ohio AAP believes the cost of prescription drugs ought to be reined in.

Policy: This vaguely-worded ballot issue would impose unworkable contracting requirements for state prescription drug prices and could cause private insurance costs to rise along with providing access problems for children and their families.

Ohio AAP Position: The Ohio AAP OPPOSES Issue 2.

What Exactly is Issue 2? Issue 2 would require the state of Ohio and state agencies, including the Ohio Department of Medicaid, to pay the same or lower prices for prescriptions drugs as the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The VA negotiates drug prices with companies and typically pays 20 to 24 percent less than other agencies for prescription drugs. Specifically, Issue 2 would forbid state agencies to enter into any purchasing agreement with drug manufacturers unless the net cost of the drug is the same or less than that paid by the VA. Issue 2 would also allow the measure’s petitioners to have a direct and personal stake in defending the law from legal challenges and would require the state to pay the petitioners’ reasonable legal expenses.

Doesn’t the Ohio AAP Want Lower Drug Costs for Children and Families? While the Ohio AAP opposes this troubling, poorly drafted ballot issue, it does not mean that we support the drug industry’s often arbitrary sky-high drug pricing, and we call on the US Congress to act on the issue of price gauging on prescription drugs.

Here are the quick facts behind our opposition to Issue 2 after much research on the issue:

  1. It is unworkable and will likely lead to more bureaucracy, red tape and lawsuits.
  2. Pediatric medications are not covered under the VA and were left out of the ballot issue language. This potentially puts three million children and families who depend on Medicaid for their prescription drug coverage to bear the largest burden as state officials try to implement this law.
  3. It will do nothing to lower drug costs for the seven million Ohioans—that’s nearly two out of every three individuals—who are privately insured, have employer coverage, are on Medicare or otherwise do not obtain their medicines through state programs. They could even see their prescription drug costs go up if this ballot issue becomes law.
  4. If passed, Issue 2 could invalidate the many drug discount agreements Ohio already has in place with pharmaceutical companies for Medicaid and other state programs—potentially increasing state prescription drug costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.
  5. It threatens to reduce patient access to medicines.
  6. It puts current VA discounts at risk, and military veterans who get their prescriptions through the VA face the prospect of potential cost increases.
  7. A provision in the ballot issue language would give Issue 2’s four named co-sponsors an unprecedented right to intervene— at taxpayer expense—in any post-election legal challenges that may be filed against the initiative or its implementation. This means they have a blank check to charge for legal fees to defend the initiative.

While it is tempting to support Issue 2 to send a message about price-gouging to drugmakers, that is, unfortunately, not the issue on the ballot, and the Ohio AAP fears this could lead to drug companies shifting costs.

We categorically believe drug pricing needs to be addressed and ought to be reined in. But passing a statute that is impractical, litigation-prone and that’s likely to do little to address the problem of overpriced drugs isn’t the answer. That’s why Issue 2 is a problem, not a cure.

CLICK HERE to download and print a version of this information.

Other Organizations in Opposition to Issue 2 Along with the Ohio AAP:

Medical providers and health advocacy groups

  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ohio
  • Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati
  • The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio
  • Butler County Medical Society
  • Caracole, Inc.
  • Equitas Health
  • Healing Hearts of Central Ohio
  • Mended Hearts
  • Mental Health America of Franklin County
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio
  • National Community Pharmacists Association
  • Ohio Affiliate of Prevent Blindness
  • Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
  • Ohio Children’s Hospital Association
  • The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers
  • Ohio Foot and Ankle Medical Association
  • Ohio Hematology Oncology Society
  • Ohio Hospital Association
  • Ohio Nurses Association
  • Ohio Ophthalmological Society
  • Ohio Osteopathic Association
  • Ohio Pharmacists Association
  • Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association
  • Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association
  • Ohio Society for Health System Pharmacists
  • Ohio State Medical Association
  • Prevention Action Alliance

Business and labor groups

  • ACT Ohio – Ohio’s Affiliated Construction Trades
  • Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Darke County Chamber of Commerce
  • Dayton Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Employers Health Purchasing Corporation
  • Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce
  • Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce
  • Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
  • Ohio Farm Bureau Federation
  • Ohio Grocers Association
  • Ohio Manufacturers’ Association
  • Ohio State Grange
  • Toledo Area Small Business Association
  • Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce

Bioscience groups

  • BioOhio
  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization

Community groups

  • Columbus Branch – NAACP

Faith groups

  • The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Columbus and Vicinity

Veterans groups and leaders

  • Ohio AMVETS State Department
  • The American Legion, Department of Ohio
  • American Veterans Department of Ohio (AMVETS)
  • Catholic War Veterans, Department of Ohio
  • Concerned Veterans of America
  • Department of Ohio Marine Corps League
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • Italian American War Veterans, Ohio Post 34
  • Jewish War Veterans, Department of Ohio
  • Korean War Veterans Association, Department of Ohio
  • Military Officers Association of America, Ohio Council of Chapters
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Ohio
  • Ohio National Guard Enlisted Association
  • Ohio National Guard Association
  • Ohio State Association of County Veterans Service Commissioners
  • Ohio State Association of County Veterans Service Officers
  • The Retired Enlisted Association
  • VFW, Department of Ohio
  • Tom Moe, Colonel, USAF, Retired
  • Victor Wilson, Veterans Advocate

Emergency management & safety groups

  • Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association

Public policy groups

  • The Buckeye Institute

Retirees groups

  • PERI, Public Employee Retirees, Inc.

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