DeWine certifies drug price language

By Frank Lewis

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One of the largest expenses in most households in this area and around the state is medicine. Prescription drug costs have been and continue to be one of the greatest drivers of rising health care costs in Ohio. Now comes word out of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office that he has certified the petition for the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, a proposed initiated statute.

In essence the Act would require that the state of Ohio not enter into any agreement for the purchase of prescription drugs or agree to pay, directly or indirectly, for prescription drugs, including where the state is the ultimate payer, unless the net cost is the same or less than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

On July 22, the Attorney General’s Office received a written petition for an initiated statute, entitled “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act,” from legal counsel representing the petitioners. The submission was certified Monday as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed law.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred,…I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” Ohio Attorney Mike General DeWine stated in his certification letter.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the proposal contains a single law or multiple laws. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each proposed law from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 1.5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal three percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Once signatures are verified by the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio General Assembly has four months to act upon the proposed law. If the proposal is not passed, the petitioners have an opportunity to gather the same number of signatures to have the proposal placed on the ballot.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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