Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell Endorses Ohio Drug Price Relief Act

Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell signs endorsement for the Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices initiative that will be on the November ballot during a private ceremony in Maple Heights last week. (Photo/KENNETH D. MILLER)

Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell, the first Black and woman to be elected mayor in the history of Maple Heights, endorsed the Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices initiative last week at a private event in Maple Heights.

Flanked by family, citizens and community stakeholders Mayor Blackwell pledged her support for the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, saying “It’s just the right thing to do.

“I serve a city with a growing senior citizen population and families who would could benefit tremendously from any relief they would pay for prescription drugs or other essential medicines,” said Blackwell.

Also in attendance was Ward 2 Councilmember Toni Jones who also completed a support card for the act.

Cleveland Ward One council candidate Kimberly F. Brown was also in attendance as well as Maple Heights Human Services Director Linda M. Vopat. Vopat, supports the initiative and will be enthusiastically informing seniors of the community.

The measure will be on the November 2017 Ohio ballot and will make a start on getting the exorbitant prices of prescription drugs under control – and save Ohio taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

If voters pass the measure, the State of Ohio would be required to pay no more for prescription drugs than is paid for the same medications by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It could also negotiate for prices below those paid by the Department. This would encompass all drug purchases in which the State is the ultimate payer, whether it purchased the drugs directly from the pharmaceutical companies or not.

Millions of Ohio taxpayers would benefit. The state could save hundreds of millions of dollars on drug purchases – freeing up funds to redirect to other needs, including healthcare improvements. In addition, this proposal could ultimately force the drug companies to moderate the prices they charge privately insured consumers for their drugs. Once insurance companies and the general public see the Ohio drug price plan working, they’ll want and demand the same good deal for themselves.

More specifically, the Ohio act would affect the price of drugs used to treat 3.7 million Ohio Medicaid recipients; Ohio workers receiving compensation for injuries or illnesses suffered on the job (225,000 patients); Ohio state government employees (134,000); Ohio children receiving vaccinations (67,000); and Ohio inpatients of the OSU Wexner Medical Center (41,000).

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