Ohio Drug Price Ballot Measure: Secretary of State Husted Certifies Backers’ 10-day Petition; Resubmits Proposed Law to General Assembly

In a case brought by PhRMA that sought to invalidate voter signatures on the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a ruling on August 15th directing backers of the measure to collect an additional 5,044 voter signatures in support of the measure in ten days by August 25th.

Today, Secretary Husted certified the 10-day petition, writing, “The Petition the Committee filed with this office on August 25, 2016 pursuant to the Court’s ruling contains a total of 12,476 valid signatures on behalf of the initiated statute.” Secretary Husted also forwarded the statute on to the General Assembly.

COLUMBUS, OH (September 6, 2016) After several attempts over the past year to thwart a ballot measure known as the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act from ever getting on the ballot and placed before voters, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today certified a 10-day petition submitted by the measure’s backers certifying an additional 12,476 valid voter signatures on behalf of the measure. Secretary Husted also resubmitted the language of the proposed statute to the Ohio General Assembly for its evaluation and consideration.

On August 15th, the Supreme Court of Ohio issued a ruling in a case brought by PhRMA that sought to invalidate voter signatures on the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, a ballot measure that would lower drug prices for state programs in Ohio. In that ruling, the Court directed backers of the measure to collect an additional 5,044 voter signatures in support of the measure in ten days by August 25th.

Earlier today, Secretary Husted certified the 10-day petition, and in a letter sent to Donald J. McTigue, Esq., the attorney representing the proponents of the ballot measure, wrote, “The Petition the Committee filed with this office on August 25, 2016 pursuant to the Court’s ruling contains a total of 12,476 valid signatures on behalf of the initiated statute. The Ohio Supreme Court’s requirements are thereby satisfied.”

Secretary Husted also then resubmitted the proposed statute to the General Assembly. If the Assembly fails to act on the measure, backers may then collect an additional 91,677 valid voter signatures in order to place the initiative on the ballot, which backers hope to get on the November 2017 ballot.

“We were confident that we had more than enough additional signatures in the ten-day petition to meet the requirements set forth by the Supreme Court of Ohio and we are pleased that the Secretary of State promptly carried out the Supreme Court’s instructions,” said Don McTigue, attorney at law with the firm McTigue & Colombo.

“This ballot measure will compel Ohio officials to pay no more for drugs for state programs than what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays,” said Tracy Jones, Midwest Regional Director & National Director of Advocacy Campaigns and a proponent of the Drug Price Relief Act. “The General Assembly now has language of the measure for its consideration, the next step in the process of bringing this important issue before voters next year, should the Assembly fail to act on it.”

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 Affairs[1]. Backers intended to have the initiative appear on Ohio’s November 2016 presidential election ballot, but obstructionist—and backers believe, illegal—moves by Secretary of State Husted have forced the ballot measure proponents to aim for the November 2017 Ohio ballot instead.

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