COLUMBUS, OHIO — Patients For Affordable Drugs (P4AD), a bipartisan national patient organization, endorsed HB 479, a bill to prohibit secretive contracts by drug corporation middlemen that keep Ohio patients in the dark about their prescription drug prices.
Patients For Affordable Drugs brought together Ohio residents Saturday in Columbus for a training focused on how to effectively organize, mobilize, and fight for lower drug prices.
“We are glad to be in Columbus to help give patients and their allies the tools they need to fight back against Big Pharma,” said Janice Rottenberg, Campaigns Director for Patients For Affordable Drugs. “HB 479 is a groundbreaking new law that would shed much-needed light on high drug prices for Ohio residents.”
Currently, drug middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) write secret contracts that prohibit Ohio pharmacists from telling patients about lower-priced drugs. PBMs are a black box in the drug distribution pipeline. They insert “clawbacks” into contracts with pharmacies that can drive up costs and impede availability of medications at local pharmacies. HB 479 outlaws those practices to ensure patients can access the most affordable drugs they need to survive.
To help fight for this policy change, Patients For Affordable Drugs organized a free in-person workshop on Saturday where Ohio residents learned how to tell their personal drug-pricing story, use different social media platforms to amplify that story, and communicate with elected officials to help fix our drug pricing system.
Patients For Affordable Drugs has heard stories from more than 541 Ohio residents struggling to afford their prescription drugs. Among those in attendance on Saturday was Marsha Darnell of Newark, Ohio.
“I came to Columbus to learn how to advocate for lowering the cost of my insulin. I’ve been paying $400 in copays, and I simply can’t afford it!” Darnell said. “The alternative is to go without and end up in the hospital. I learned a lot today about what we can do to pass legislation to help patients like me here in Ohio.”
Millions of Americans routinely choose not to fill prescriptions or skip doses to save money, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.