County, state voters say ‘no’ to Ohio Drug Price Relief Act

Megan Alley
Sun staff

On Election Day, Nov. 7, the majority of voters in Clermont County, and ultimately the state of Ohio, said no to Issue 2, The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.

Issue 2 failed with about 84.5 percent of county voters voting against the act, according to unofficial results.

The final vote was 5,335 for YES and 29,143 for NO, respectively.

The proposed law would have required state agencies to pay no more for prescription drugs than the prices netted by the federal Department of Veterans Administration, which negotiates drug prices with companies and typically pays 4 to 20 percent less than other agencies, according to the League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund Voters’ Guide 2017.

In other words, the law would have prohibited the state “from buying any prescription drug from a drug manufacturer for a price over the lowest price paid for the drug by the VA,” according to the voters’ guide.

A “yes” vote meant approval of the Act.

A “no” vote meant disapproval of the Act.

The law would have impacted those — about 4 million Ohioans — who receive drugs paid for by the State.

The state agencies that would have been affected by the proposed law include the Ohio Departments of Medicaid, Jobs and Family Services, Insurance, Health and Aging.

The law would not have affected those — about 7 million Ohioans — with any other type of coverage, including private insurance, Medicare or non-state-provided coverage

Clark Lawrence, of the village of New Richmond, voted “against” Issue 2.

“It’s my understanding that a ‘yes’ vote was for the big powers,” he explained.

Carol Kirshner, of Ohio Township, said she was going to vote ‘no’ on Issue 2, too.

“I want to vote it down,” she said. “Just from what I understand, it would not be a good thing.”

At SEM Terrace in Milford, Jennifer Liles, a local teacher, talked about why she voted for Issue 2.

“I guess I’m willing to try, give it a shot, see what happens,” she said. “I think prescription drugs are incredibly expensive.”

She added that some orders are more about “elective costs” than anything else.

“It’s out of bounds,” she said, noting that while Issue 2 wasn’t the main reason she came out to cast a ballot, it was still an important issue.

Tracey Suter, of the village of Moscow, was undecided on Issue 2.

“It was very hard … I see it both ways, but I actually did not vote for Issue 2, I just left it blank because I was undecided,” she said. “I saw both sides of each story, and I felt for both sides, but in the end, I didn’t want to make the wrong decision.”