AHF: Ohio Supreme Court Denies PhRMA Motions on Drug Price Ballot Measure; Backers to Restart Voter Signature Gathering June 5th

Aggressive actions by drug industry’s trade group and Secretary of
State John Husted to prevent a ballot measure to lower drug prices for
state programs from getting on the Ohio ballot fall short.

In a 6 to 1 ruling earlier today, the Supreme Court of Ohio denied
three PhRMA motions intended to derail the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
from appearing on a ballot before Ohio voters. Backers of the ballot
measure will now begin collection of second portion of required voter
signatures this Sunday, June 5
th.

COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Advocates from AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) and members of Ohioans for Fair Drug
Prices today welcomed a ruling
by the Supreme Court of Ohio denying three legal motions by lawyers for
PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), the drug
industry’s trade group, intended to prevent a ballot measure to lower
drug prices for state programs from getting on the Ohio ballot. Despite
aggressive actions by both PhRMA and Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted
to prevent the measure from getting before Ohio voters,
today’s Supreme Court 6 to 1 ruling shortstops PhRMA’s efforts and
allows backers of the measure to begin collecting the second round of
required voter signatures starting this Sunday, June 5th. The
group now has until July 6th to collect the needed additional
signatures.

The
Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
will amend Ohio law to require
state programs to pay the same or less for prescription medications as
the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs1. Backers intended to
have the initiative appear on Ohio’s November 2016 presidential election
ballot. However, on January 4th, Secretary of State Husted
defied his statutory obligation regarding certification of voter
signatures and delayed (by one full month) transmitting the proposed law
to the Ohio legislature, as legally required under the Ohio
Constitution, despite the fact that local election boards had twice
certified voter signature petitions. The court still has to rule on
whether Ohioans for Fair Drug Prices will be granted an additional month
beyond the July 6th signature gathering deadline to
compensate for the month-long delay by Secretary Husted. Backers of the
measure believe that Husted’s action was an illegal political move at
the bidding of a PhRMA law firm that has contributed over $44,000 to
Husted’s elections over the years.

“We take today’s ruling as a sign that the Court is not accepting
PhRMA’s efforts to delay reaching a decision on the Ohio Drug Price
Relief Act and will now ramp up with our second phase of signature
gathering bright and early Sunday morning,” said Michael Weinstein,
President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the sponsor and primary funder of
the measure.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
617,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

1 V.A. pricing is generally believed to be 20% to 24% lower
than for almost any other government program.

Contacts

OHIO:
McTIGUE & COLOMBO LLC
Don McTigue, Attorney
at Law
614-263-7000
or
CALIFORNIA:
AHF
Ged
Kenslea,
Senior Director, Communications
+1-323-308-1833 work
+1-323-791-5526
mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org