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October 30, 2017 (Cleveland, Ohio)

The Center Opposes Ohio Drug Relief Act

Ohio Drug Relief ActThe Center for Health Affairs opposes Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Relief Act. This position mirrors that of more than 70 organizations including: the Ohio Hospital Association, the Ohio State Medical Association, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association; the Ohio Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics as well as veterans groups, community organizations, faith groups, business and labor, bioscience, emergency management, public policy groups and retirees.

There is little disagreement in the healthcare sector that high prescription drug prices are a problem that need to be addressed; however, the Ohio Drug Relief Act will not achieve this goal, and will instead have the opposite effect. In addition to raising drug prices, Issue 2 will have a host of negative impacts on Ohioans, the state and providers. Some of the most concerning include...

Increased Cost to Patients

  • Since the Ohio Drug Relief Act only applies to drugs purchased by the state, it will do nothing to lower the costs of drugs for the 7 million Ohioans who have private insurance, have employer coverage, are on Medicare or otherwise do not obtain their medicines through state programs. In fact, they may see their prices go up if Issue 2 becomes law as a result of cost-shifting.

Decreased Access to Medicine

  • The ballot initiative would require that Ohio government pay no more for drugs than what is paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; however, the VA’s formulary, or list of approved drugs, does not necessarily have the same list of medications needed by other state programs. Ohio Medicaid, for example, which covers half of all children in the state, purchases medications for this population, many of which are not on the VA formulary designed for veteran’s healthcare needs. As a result, many of these medications may no longer be available through the Medicaid program.

Higher Costs to Ohio

  • Moving to a mandatory discount could also result in Ohio losing benefits for the additional discounts and rebates our state government negotiates directly with drug manufacturers, which could increase the state’s costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.

Negative Impact on Providers

  • In addition to the higher costs and access issues that would interfere with providers’ ability to optimize treatment for their patients, providers would stand to lose significant pharmacy revenues. One member hospital of The Center that depends heavily upon the Medicaid program, for instance, would likely lose $10 million in pharmacy revenues annually.

Northeast Ohio’s hospitals provide the highest quality of care to all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Our communities are stronger and healthier because of them. The Center strongly opposes any measure that would negatively impact hospitals’ ability to deliver care.

Contact us to learn more about The Center's stance on the Ohio Drug Relief Act.


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