Tuesday, November 07, 2017

It's Very Easy For Big Pharma To Spend Enough Money To Confuse Badly Educated Voters. Sad


Big Pharma has spent tens of millions of dollars-- nearly $60 million as of last week-- on a contest in Ohio that hasn't gotten a lot of national attention. Issue 2 on today's ballot would have required state agencies to pay no more than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. The drug companies were freaking out, not just because of Ohio but because Ohio would open a floodgate nationally of citizens who don't want to continue being ripped off by drug companies. It seems to be losing badly tonight.

Backers of the proposition ran a robocall from Bernie Sanders yesterday and Sunday, reaching something like 300,000 registered voters:
Hi, this is Senator Bernie Sanders. At a time when we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, the pharmaceutical industry is spending over $50 million in Ohio to defeat Issue 2, which will be on your ballot on November 7th. Don’t let them get away with it. Issue 2 can lower drug prices for millions of Ohioans and for taxpayers. Please vote Yes on Issue 2. It’s time we stopped the greed of the drug companies. Thank you.
Counties with big pockets of Bernie supporters is where these robocalls should have been targeted, like Athens County, where Bernie didn't just beat Hillary, but beat Trump, Cruz and Kasich combined on primary day. Other good targets would have been in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lorain, Hamilton, Montgomery, Lake, Fairfield, Medina, Butler, Lucas, Stark, Delaware, Wood, Licking, Summit, Potage, Trumbull and Mahong counties.

The drug manufacturers and their Republican allies-- Ohioans Against Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue-- have worked hard to confuse voters and envelope the whole process in enough of a fog as to persuade voters to vote no so as to not make a bad matter worse. Voters generally agree that the drug companies ate charging too much and ripping them off but the confusion sown makes it hard to understand what Issue 2 will and won't do. That's a strategy. story are trying to convince voters that backing the proposition will lead to higher prices because pharmaceutical companies would raise prices for everyone not covered by the state programs-- Ohioans with private insurance and seniors on the federal Medicare program-- to make up for the losses. That's a bold-faced lie--which has blanketed Ohio broadcast media-- but the idea isn't to win an argument; it's to cast a shadow of doubt.

A YES vote was urged by the editors of the Toledo Blade Friday. Do people still read newspaper?
No one in Ohio who has had to fill a prescription will be surprised to know that Americans pay about twice as much each year for pharmaceuticals as patients in other industrialized countries.

Who can forget the truly egregious cases of Big Pharma pricing? EpiPen prices that jumped to $300 each or the cost of blood-pressure medication digoxin ballooning more than 600 percent?

  There is no question that prescription drug costs are often outrageous or that they cause consumers much physical and financial pain and grief. The only question is what public policy strategy is going to address the problem.

The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act (Issue 2), on the ballot on Tuesday, would require state government to pay no more for prescription drugs than the price paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which typically gets a discount of up to 24 percent.

The measure would apply to drugs the state of Ohio buys for about 4 million people. About 75 percent of those are on Medicaid. Others include people receiving workers’ compensation, along with state employees and state retirees.

Opponents of the initiative point out that it does not cover about two-thirds of Ohioans, including people with private insurance and others who do not get their drugs via a state-related program. The critics are right when they predict that drug companies are likely to try to hike the prices on drugs sold to those other 7 million Ohioans-- in order to make up for any losses incurred thanks to Issue 2.

The drug companies-- the ones largely funding the vote-no campaign in Ohio as they did a similar measure in California in 2016-- are, effectively, telling their customers that they will retaliate if the state votes to create any kind of price controls.

While it is logical to believe them, it is cowardly to give in to that kind of extortion.

It is all the more reason to stand up for ourselves.

What Issue 2 opponents are saying is something like this: You have to keep giving the school bully all your lunch money or he will make up the difference by extorting others.

  The answer is not to give in to the bully, and what he might do, it is to stand up to him, generally, and on many fronts, and to urge others to do the same.

  There is nothing written in the ballot measure that will increase drug prices, for anyone. That is something drug companies are threatening to do if voters take even this meager step to counter their power.

Issue 2 is not a perfect or a complete solution, but it is a small, respectable first step toward more reasonable drug prices, self-government, and the public’s self-respect.

  The proposition is that state government, as a major buyer of pharmaceuticals, should be able to negotiate prices. It is hard to argue with this modest reform.

The Blade recommends a vote FOR Issue 2.

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At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This only proves 1,2 or 3 of 3 things:
ohio voters are morons
ohio voters are evil
ohio vote counting is still corrupted

I'm sure #3 is still true. I KNOW a good number of voters are evil. And it goes without saying that a VERY large number are dumber than crabgrass.


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