COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot issue, which aimed to control the price state agencies pay for prescription drugs.
The Associated Press called the race at 8:18pm Tuesday.
With 87.44% of precincts reporting, the vote currently stands at:
- 417,190 voting YES on the measure (20.14%)
- 1,654,164 voting NO on the measure (79.86%)
The pharmaceutical industry spent more than $50 million to oppose Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, saying it would reduce access to medicines and raise prices for veterans and others.
Supporters, led by the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, spent close to $17 million in support, saying it would save the state millions of dollars and could force the industry to reduce prices elsewhere.
The measure would have required the state to pay no more for prescription drugs than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lowest price, which is often deeply discounted.
The opponent campaign, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, was funded by a subsidiary of the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, that was not required to disclose its specific donors.
The campaign of supporters, Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, got nearly all its money from the California-based foundation led by Michael Weinstein. His combative style and history of litigation elsewhere was the subject of relentless TV attack ads that aired around the state.
A similar ballot measure went before California voters last year. Proposition 61 failed after drugmakers spent $109 million to defeat it, with another $20 million spent in support.
South Dakota is among states where proponents are looking to try again next year.