AHF: Advocates Submit 171,205 Signatures for 2016 Drug Pricing Ballot Measure in Ohio

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Drug pricing advocates affiliated with Ohioans for Fair Drug Prices and
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today filed 171,205 registered Ohio
voter signatures with state officials in support of the Ohio Drug Price
Relief Act, a proposed
statewide ballot initiative
that will revise Ohio law to require
state programs pay the same or less for prescription medications as the
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. With the majority of Americans naming
the affordability of high-cost drugs for chronic conditions such as HIV,
hepatitis, cancer and mental illness as a top health care priority, Ohio
drug pricing advocates have responded by working across the state to
collect voter signatures to place the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act on the
November 2016 ballot. The measure aims to reduce the cost of
prescription drugs in the state by giving state government programs the
ability to pay no more for medications than the VA, which generally
receives discounts of 20% to 24% for prescription drugs.

“In poll after poll, Americans continue to express their deep concerns
about the exploding costs of health care and prescription drugs. For
people with chronic conditions including HIV, hepatitis and cancer who
depend on their medications to stay alive, the urgent need to control
high drug costs is more pressing than just a campaign slogan or simple
policy discussion,” said Tracy Jones, Executive Director of the
AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and one of the citizen proponents of
the Ohio measure. “Each day, people are choosing between the basic
necessities of life and paying for their medications. Change starts at
home, and that’s why we’re hitting the streets across the state to raise
awareness and support for the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act. The fact that
we’ve collected almost twice as many signatures than we need for the
legislature to take action at this point clearly shows Ohioans’ broad
support for lowering prescription drug prices. Our elected state leaders
either need to deal with this issue directly or allow Ohio voters to
take a stand in November 2016 for controlling drug prices if the
legislators can’t bring themselves to take action.”

“While we’ve seen ample evidence that there is seemingly no limit to the
corporate greed of pharmaceutical companies, we also know that Americans
are tired of feeling afraid every time they go to the doctor or it’s
time to get a prescription filled,” said Michael Weinstein,
president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Astronomical prescription drug
prices hurt everyone—except the drug makers’ bottom lines. This has got
to stop.”

Since mid-August, advocates from AHF and Ohioans for Fair Drug Prices
have been collecting signatures throughout the state to qualify the Ohio
Drug Price Relief Act for the November 2016 ballot. Although only 91,677
signatures (equal to 3 percent of the votes cast for governor in the
most recent election) are required by state law for citizens to initiate
legislation, drug pricing advocates submitted 171,205 signatures today
for verification by state election officials. Once verified, the state
legislature will have four months to act on the measure. State
legislators must pass
the law as written
or supporters must collect an additional 91,677
signatures for the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act to appear on the November
2016 statewide ballot.

According to the Ohio petition language, “The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
would enact Section 194.01 of the Ohio Revised Code to require that
notwithstanding any other provision of law and in so far as permissible
under federal law, the State of Ohio shall not enter into any agreement
for the purchase of prescription drugs or agree to pay, directly or
indirectly, for prescription drugs, including where the state is the
ultimate payer, unless the net cost is the same or less than the lowest
price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.”

In addition to being affiliated with the AIDS Taskforce of Greater
Cleveland, AHF operates healthcare centers and pharmacies in Cleveland
and Columbus. The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland serves over 1,200
clients and their families in six counties in Northeast Ohio by
providing vital social services to include case management, nutrition,
transportation and HIV/AIDS/STDs education/ prevention, research and
advocacy. Opened in November 2013 at 2829 Euclid Avenue, The Cleveland
AHF Healthcare Center offers free HIV testing and medical services, in
addition to an on-site AHF Pharmacy. The Columbus AHF Healthcare Center,
which opened in January 2013, is located at 815 W. Broad St., Suite 350
at Mount Carmel Hospital West, also provides HIV testing and treatment
services. AHF Pharmacy is a full-service facility staffed with
pharmacists who specialize in HIV/AIDS medications (as well as general
pharmacy services), providing clients with access to the additional
specialists, medications and services they need to be as healthy as

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
500,000 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.


Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
Associate Director of Communications
+1.310.880.9913 mobile