California Group Pushing Pharmaceutical Price Controls

What if Ohio passed a law limiting how much you could charge for the product or service your company provides? Unfortunately, that possibility is now one step closer to reality for one industry.

A law being pushed by California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation would cap the price of prescription drugs bought by the state of Ohio. The so-called “Drug Price Relief Act” would prohibit the state of Ohio from buying any drugs unless the price is the same as, or less than, the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is pushing this legislation under the name Ohioans for Fair Drug Prices.  The group gathered the 91,677 signatures of voters needed to put this bill in front of the legislature.

Secretary of State Jon Husted verified the group had collected sufficient valid signatures. The proposal was then submitted to the Ohio General Assembly last Thursday. The legislature now has 120 days to act on the proposal. If the legislature fails to pass the law in the 120 day time frame, the group can attempt to gather an additional 91,677 signatures. This would then put the bill on the statewide ballot this November.

The stated goal of the bill’s backers is to lower prescription drug costs. However, it would have no direct effect on prices the majority of Ohioans pay. This is because the bill does not impact the prices health insurers or private employer plans pay for prescription drugs.

Further, it ignores how competitive market forces work. It could even have a chilling effect on medical innovation. It’s for these reasons that the Ohio Chamber opposes this anti-free market attempt to force government price controls on pharmaceutical manufacturers. This bad idea is just another example of how out-of-state groups abuse Ohio’s low threshold for ballot access.