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Ohio Sues Purdue Pharma over OxyContin’s Deadly Impact

Backers of Ohio drug pricing ballot measure commend A.G. Mike DeWine for holding drug industry accountable for devastating impact of opioids in Ohio, which leads nation in opioid overdose deaths.

Columbus – Supporters of the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act today applauded a lawsuit filed by Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine seeking to hold drug companies accountable for helping create the state’s devastating opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of thousands of Ohio residents.

But Relief Act supporters also urged Ohioans to “keep their eye on the main prize.”

“This lawsuit is a step in the right direction but a lot more is needed to curb the drug industry’s reckless greed,” said Relief Act spokesman Ged Kenslea. “No matter how much these companies get sued, not one executive is going to jail. Big court fines and penalties don’t really hurt the drug companies – they just pay them off by raising our drug prices."

“The main prize in the fight against these corporate bad citizens is the Relief Act,” Kenslea said. “This ballot issue gives Ohio voters the opportunity to finally put the brakes on shameless drug industry price-gouging that is stealing money from Ohio taxpayers, consumers and families. This is a reform that is reasonable and has a track-record of working.”

The Relief Act, placed on the Nov. 7, 2017 Ohio ballot with the support of nearly 200,000 Ohio residents, is modeled after the federal program that governs the prices the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs pays for drugs. That federal program, in effect since the early 1990s, has successfully lowered the drug prices the VA pays. The Act will empower Ohio government agencies that purchase drugs for nearly 4 million residents to get the same discounted prices that the VA gets.

Max Cleland, former head of the Veterans Administration and a severely wounded Vietnam veteran, this week endorsed the Relief Act. Cleland is featured in TV ads now running statewide in which the triple amputee talks about the sacrifices military veterans have made for their country while the drug companies only look out for their bottom-line.

“The AG’s lawsuit underlines what we’ve been saying - that the drug industry will do anything – including hook our residents on addictive drugs – to make a buck,” said Kenslea.

“This industry needs to be taught a lesson that Ohio voters won’t take any more of this abuse. The Relief Act will do just that.”

The Columbus Dispatch reported that in 2014 Ohio led all states with 2,106 opioid-related overdoses – accounting for 7.4 percent of the 28,647 deaths reported nationwide that year.

You can learn more by visiting or the Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices Facebook page.

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