Ohio Democratic Lawmaker Pushes to Cap Drug Prices

Jan 14, 2018

Tavares (at podium) says the bill will take what people liked from Issue 2 and throw out the rest.
Credit ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A state 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.

The Democratic senator says there are some key differences that might help its chances, though her party remains a small minority in Columbus.

The 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.

Democratic Sen. Charleta Tavares of Columbus says her bill takes the element of last year’s Issue 2 that people like, which is to lower drug prices, and throws out the rest.

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

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