AHF: PhRMA, in “Act of Desperation,” Sues to Block Ohio Drug Pricing Initiative from Nov. 2016 Ballot

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Drug industry trade group is terrified of having to face voters and
answer directly to consumers for exorbitant price gouging and policies
by one of the most reviled industries in America today.

The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act would require state programs to pay
the same or less for prescription medications as the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs. V.A. pricing is generally believed to be 20% to 24%
lower than for almost any other government program.

COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Backers of an Ohio ballot initiative addressing inflated drug prices
today sharply criticized the Pharmaceutical Researchers and
Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s deep-pocketed
trade group, for filing a lawsuit to block the ballot initiative from
even appearing on the November 2016 ballot. The lawsuit was filed
earlier today in the Supreme Court of Ohio (Case
# 2016-313
) challenging The
Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
, a citizen-driven ballot
initiative that will revise Ohio law to require state programs pay no
more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription
medications. V.A. pricing is generally believed to be 20% to 24% lower
than for almost any other government program.

“This is a desperate move by the pharmaceutical industry and the special
interests who support them to keep Ohioans from voting on a proposed law
that would dramatically lower prescription drug costs for consumers,”
said Don McTigue, an attorney with McTigue & Colombo LLC in
Columbus who has been working on behalf of the ballot initiative
supporters. “In addition, regarding claims made in PhRMA’s lawsuit:
PhRMA is wrong about the laws governing citizen petitions. On February 4th,
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted determined that the initial ballot
petition was valid and that it contained sufficient valid signatures of
Ohio registered voters—96,936—from all across Ohio. As such, and as
required under Ohio’s Constitution, Secretary Husted transmitted the
proposed law to the General Assembly for its consideration. PhRMA has
now waited 25 days before filing this action, causing prejudice to the
petition committee and undue delay. Further, it is unclear whether they
have even filed in the correct court.”

“This lawsuit is an act of desperation by Pharma and its well paid
minions and a clear indication that the pharmaceutical industry knows
that they simply cannot win their case on drug pricing with the public
at the polls in November,” said Michael Weinstein, President of
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the primary financial supporter of the
Ohio initiative as well as a similar drug pricing measure in California.
“As drug pricing is shaping up to be one of the most potent presidential
campaign issues this year, we urge the Ohio legislature to quickly bring
the ballot initiative language to the floor for an up or down vote so
that we may then collect the next round of signatures necessary to put
this initiative before voters in November.”

Backers of the drug pricing initiative submitted 116,015 voter
signatures, far more than the 91,677 needed to qualify the initiative.
Ohio’s General Assembly has four months to consider and act on the
measure—until June 3rd, 2016. If they take no action or vote it down,
backers of the measure must again collect the same number of signatures
(91,677) to put the measure before voters in November.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
596,000 individuals in 35 countries worldwide in the U.S., Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

Contacts

OHIO:
McTigue & Colombo LLC
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Don
McTigue,
Attorney at Law
614-263-7000
or
CALIFORNIA:
AHF
Ged
Kenslea,
Senior Director, Communications
+1.323.308.1833 work
+1.323.791.5526
mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org