Nina Turner is a former state senator and president of Our Revolution, the organization formed from the movement inspired by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Twitter: @ninaturner.
Americans pay, by far, the highest prices for prescription drugs in the entire world. Couple this with skyrocketing prices for health services, and you have a growing health care crisis. Everyone should be able to afford the medicine their health care providers prescribe.
That is why I, and Our Revolution, are proud to endorse Issue 2, the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act. I have listened to people around the country, including in my hometown of Cleveland, and we are all tired of Congress paying more attention to the demands of the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists while ignoring our families, friends, and neighbors. We need a change.
Every day millions of Americans skip needed medication because they cannot afford to take them as prescribed by their doctor. Issue 2 changes the game by giving the State of Ohio the power to lower drug prices for millions of Ohioans, save taxpayers money, and show Big Pharma that we are done letting them make billions in profits while everyday people are forced to cut back on necessities.
As former presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said when he also endorsed Issue 2, “Ohioans have the opportunity this year to take on the greed of drug companies and significantly lower the cost of prescription drugs.” Right now, Ohioans have the opportunity to take the first step in lowering drug prices. We can set an example for all Americans.
Those who argue against passage of this act are accepting the tyranny of pharmaceutical corporations. They are willing to accept that Ohioans should be forced to choose between groceries and their medications. They are allowing drug companies to continue to bully Ohioans with threats of even more prices increases, while they rake in record profits. There is nothing currently stopping these companies from raising prices even more for individuals or institutions. One example of this cruel ability is when Martin Shkreli, while CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat malaria and toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 to $750 a tablet seemingly overnight. These companies will continue to do this until we stand up and fight back.
Don’t for a second believe the big drug companies when they say Issue 2 can’t be implemented. The Department of Veterans Affairs has successfully used this program for years since it was first established by President George H. W. Bush and Congress in 1992. This effort was put in place to not only honor our veterans who had served, but also to allow the VA to negotiate with drug companies to ensure veterans weren’t being charged exorbitant prices for needed medicines after they returned from service.
Don’t be fooled when pharmaceutical companies argue that their pricing strategy is simply based on supply and demand. We all know that is not true. It’s time that Ohioans demand pharmaceutical companies bring down their outrageously overpriced drugs. We deserve better.
Vote yes on Issue 2 this November.