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After Failure Of Issue 2, Ohio Democrat Introduces Bill To Lower Drug Prices

Ohio Senate Democrats
State sen. Charleta Tavares introduces a bill aimed at lowering drug prices.

A Democratic lawmaker is introducing a bill that would require drug companies to slash their prices. The legislation is similar to the measure voters overwhelmingly voted down on last year’s ballot.

State Sen. Charleta Tavares of Columbus says there are some key differences between her bill and the ill-fated Drug Price Relief Act that might help its chances, though her party remains a small minority in the Ohio General Assembly.

Her bill would require state health-care programs, state pension programs and private insurance companies to all be afforded the same discount on drugs that the pharmaceutical companies offer to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We are not an outside California non-profit executive," she said. "Ohio legislators are going to debate and develop the final bill with our stakeholders.”

Opponents of Issue 2 also said requiring these discounts could take leverage away from programs like Medicaid when they negotiate their own drug prices.

A whopping 79 percent of voters rejected Issue 2 in the November election, after the most expensive ballot campaign in Ohio history. Opponents, backed by big drug companies, raised more than $70 million to fight the amendment.