Associated Press: Voters reject Ohio’s Issue 2, drug price measure

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – Voters have rejected Ohio’s Issue 2 — a controversial ballot issue that has caused debate across the state, according to the Associated Press.

With just over 1 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, AP has called the race.

You have probably seen numerous commercials on the measure, also known as the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.

Watch: Supporters weigh in on Issue 2 results 

Under the measure, the state would not be allowed to enter into a purchase agreement for prescription drugs unless the net cost is the same or lower than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The law would also require state payment of attorney fees and expenses for defense of the law.

When questioned about why Issue Two failed, spokesman Dennis Willard pointed the finger at everything but the issue itself. He pointed out the opposition spent upwards of $70 million fighting the measure, and blamed television advertising for confusing voters.

Earlier in the day, another spokesman for the ballot measure Matt Borges accused the opposition of outright lying to the voters. Proponents of the act said its goal is to control prescription drug spending while opponents say it would actually increase drug prices for those with private insurance.

When asked if it could have anything to do with an inability to verify the issue would actually save Ohioans $400 million, as they claimed it would, such a possibility was rejected. With this election virtually settled, the Yes on Issue Two camp is looking to move on to the next state.

Voters rejected Issue Two by a nearly 4 to 1 margin, similar to the margin that saw Issue One pass on Tuesday.

In October, WKBN aired a forum in which both sides discussed their reasons for supporting or opposing the measure.

Watch: Complete Issue 2 forum

The  “Vote Yes” campaign focused on voters’ negative opinions of pharmaceutical companies. The “Vote No” campaign wanted voters to trust opinions of local medical professionals and newspapers while painting a major financial backer of the “Vote Yes” campaign as an outsider trying to influence their vote.

A fiscal analysis released earlier this year from the Governor’s Office of Budget and Management that ultimately found there to be “insufficient information to estimate savings” that would come from the measure.

Read more: Fiscal analysis of Issue 2