Big Phrama Greed Hard at Work in Ohio

The drug industry will say anything, do anything to defeat the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act (drug relief act) – or any other effort to control their drug prices. We are already seeing how this plays out.

The industry’s lobbying arm, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), hired the Columbus law firm of Bricker & Eckler to use every legal trick in the book to prevent the drug relief act from getting on the ballot – even after nearly 200,000 Ohioans signed petitions to put it there. But PhRMA’s efforts to quash this citizen reform movement was defeated by an Ohio Supreme Court ruling.

PhRMA subsequently spent big bucks to hire Vorys Health Care Advisors LLC to write an analysis of the drug relief act.  Not surprisingly, the drug industry got what it paid for – a thinly-disguised hit piece.

The Vorys report is built on unsupported assumptions, shaky speculation and even unnamed sources. Its conclusion is that Ohio government agencies won’t gain from passage of the drug relief act because the drug companies are already giving those agencies the same kind of discounts the drug relief act would mandate. Vorys based that conclusion on interviews with unnamed state officials. Oh yeah? Now if the drug relief act will have no impact on drug prices, why is the drug industry ready to spend tens of millions to defeat the measure? It makes no sense.

 

The Vorys report also claims Ohio cannot find out what the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs pays for its drugs (the benchmark for what the Ohio agencies would pay under the drug relief act) because that payment information is cloaked in proprietary secrecy. It’s only the drug companies that want the exact prices kept secret. There should be no problem with the VA sharing with Ohio what it pays for its drugs. Ohio can keep a secret as well as the VA. So what’s the problem? This argument is more drug company smoke and mirrors.

Finally, Vorys claims that if the drug companies must lower drug prices because of the drug relief act the result would be that the drug companies would evade the measure’s impact by jacking up the prices they charge the VA. Now how’s that going to look? Drug companies sock it to veterans? This would give the companies such a black eye that they would be lucky if the entire consuming public, the Congress and the President didn’t go ballistic on them. In other words, this scenario is not likely unless the drug companies are suicidal.

Remember: the only one who can raise the price of drugs are the drug companies. So when they say the relief act will cause higher drug prices that’s a threat that only they make good on.

Bottom-line: the Vorys report is one bought and paid for by the drug companies It’s not credible. Fortunately Ohioans now have the option to vote yes in Nov. 2017 and get real relief from the drug companies’ painful price-gouging. And their malarkey.

 

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