Urges Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs
COLUMBUS, OHIO — AARP Ohio delivered more than 4,000 petitions today to Governor Mike DeWine and the Director of Ohio’s Department of Administrative Services Matthew Damschroder, urging the Administration’s support of two essential policy solutions to lower prescription drug costs in Ohio. Collected from residents across the state, the petitions call for drug price transparency and for Ohio to leverage its full purchasing power during negotiations.
Director Damschroder heads the special council established in House Bill 166, tasked with providing recommendations to the General Assembly, Governor DeWine, and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee regarding Ohio’s best path forward to decrease the high cost of prescription drugs in Ohio. The petition delivery coincides with the council’s last public participation meeting before preparing their final report and recommendations to Governor Mike DeWine.
“We applaud Governor DeWine’s focus on improving Ohio’s prescription drug price transparency, affordability payment models, and health care efficiency. Creating the council was a step in the right direction and now we need to see action to hold drug makers accountable,” said AARP State Director Holly Holtzen. “Older Ohioans are struggling with rising prescription drug prices and cannot afford to wait any longer, especially now.”
Requiring drug makers to provide transparency and justification for price increases is one of the two solutions Ohioans who signed the petition are urging. Using state buying power to negotiate lower drug prices is the second.
“Promoting transparency around drug prices exposes unfair price gouging practices, forces accountability for dramatic prices increases and drives costs down,” said AARP Ohio’s Associate State Director of Advocacy Latoya Peterson. Peterson represents AARP and their 1.5 million members in Ohio on the prescription drug council.
“Negotiation is a commonsense, but powerful approach. Some states have begun buying prescription drugs in bulk for some residents, including Medicaid beneficiaries, state employees and retirees, and prisoners. And some states are joining with each other to create even larger buying pools as a way to bring down the high costs of medicines, ” said Peterson.
AARP has been tracking drug prices for 12 years in their Rx Price Watch Report. For each year, the price for prescription drugs has increased much faster than inflation. Here in Ohio, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased 57.8% between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Ohioans only increased 13%.
“No American should be forced to choose between paying for the medicines they need and paying for food, rent, or other necessities,” said Peterson.