Regional Chamber Board Opposes Issue 2

Aug 04, 2017
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to oppose Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, which will appear on the General Election ballot in November.
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to oppose Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, which will appear on the General Election ballot in November.

Approval of the citizen-initiated statute launched by the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation last year would change the rules state government must follow when purchasing drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries and 4 million people in programs such as the Department of Mental Health and Addition Services, Department of Health, Department of Administrative Services, state employee retirement systems and Bureau of Workers Compensation.

Issue 2 proposes to prohibit the state from entering into contracts in which the net cost of a prescription drug purchased by the state is more than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the V.A. is a closed system that does not reveal drug pricing, so the issue could result in a significant administrative burden to the state and the potential for ongoing litigation if state agencies fail to implement the requirements.

“If the state government has to pay less for medicine, private insurance would have to pay more to make up the difference,” said the Regional Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Guy Coviello. “An alternative would be for pharmaceutical companies to charge the V.A. more to raise the state prices,” he warned.

Pharmaceuticals could pull out of their state agreements or not offer certain drugs for state plans to avoid the price control, Coviello said. “If the state already negotiated a price lower than the V.A., the price could go up, thus hurting the very people the proposal claims to be helping.”

The Regional Chamber joins a growing list of business, veterans and labor organizations that advise Ohioans to vote “no” on Issue 2, including the Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Manufacturers Association, ACT Ohio – Ohio’s Affiliated Construction Trades, Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Ohio and the American Legion Department of Ohio.