More than $20 million in ads to hit Ohio airwaves on drug prices ballot issue

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 2:03 PM

Pill bottles sit on the shelf of Waynesville Pharmacy. If approved, Issue 2, an initiated statute, would limit state expenditures on prescription drugs for about 4 million Ohioans. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Pill bottles sit on the shelf of Waynesville Pharmacy. If approved, Issue 2, an initiated statute, would limit state expenditures on prescription drugs for about 4 million Ohioans. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Get ready to see more ads from both the supporters and opponents of state Issue 2, the prescription drug price ballot initiative.

The campaigns have already been saturating Ohio airwaves with ads urging voters to adopt or reject the measure, and spending on media is expanding starting this week.

The “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act,” which voters will see on the Nov. 7 ballot, would require that state agencies like the Department of Medicaid pay the same or lower prices for prescription drugs as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Content Continues Below

RELATED: Ohio’s drug price ballot issue: What’s really going on?

Proponents say the measure will save the state between $350 million and $400 million annually that could be used for other state programs, like fighting the opioid epidemic. The opposition — financially backed by big pharma, but made up of dozens of organizations representing veterans, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and business — says the measure is unworkable and won’t produce the promised results. They say it could actually lead to higher drug prices for the majority of Ohioans who get prescriptions through private or employer insurance.

So far, the ad war has been lopsided in favor of the opposition, Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, which has outspent supporters by about 5 to 1. That trend is expected to continue as the No campaign is funded by the deep-pocketed Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade organization that represents dozens of major drug companies.

RELATED: Issue 2 supporters say opposition is hiding donor info

Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, the proponents, is mostly funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a California non-profit that serves AIDS patients around the globe, including through several pharmacy locations in Ohio.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Issue 2 opponents have purchased about $19.5 million in airtime, including about $1.7 million for the current week beginning Wednesday. Those numbers include ads on both broadcast and a variety of cable channels in 11 cities, including three in West Virginia, according to the Dispatch.

The anti-issue spending for the week is highest in the three Cs: Cleveland ($380,261), Cincinnati ($354,119), and Columbus ($284,147), records show.

Issue 2 proponents have spent or purchased about $4 million on television advertising, including roughly $1 million in the current week, according to the Dispatch reporting.

Matt Borges, former GOP state party chair and a supporter of the ballot issue, said the ads are ramping up because this is the time when voters start really paying attention. 

“We’re up against an onslaught of spending by the drug companies who are trying to confuse voters,” he said.

RELATED: Battle over drug pricing comes to Ohio with costly campaign, TV ads

Dale Butland, spokesman for the opposition, said the campaign is fighting an uphill battle to educate voters.

“Their whole pitch is, ‘You want lower drug prices?… Vote yes,’” he said. “That’s a very attractive proposition to people, because so many people are struggling to pay their drug costs. So what we have to do is explain to people that something that sounds really good, is not in fact a good idea, will not do what it promises, and in fact will only make things worse. That’s a much more expensive proposition than the other side.”

According to the most recent campaign finance reports, which were filed June 30, PhRMA gave $15.8 million to the opposition campaign. AHF contributed nearly all of the $3.6 million that `Issue 2 proponents reported receiving. The next filing deadline in not until late October, a couple of weeks before the election.

The campaign could end up being the most expensive in Ohio history. A similar measure in California, with backing from the same two sides was defeated last year 53 percent to 47 percent. For that campaign, supporters spent $19 million and opponents nearly $110 million.

MORE DRUG PRICING COVERAGE:

Consumers kept in the dark over drug pricing

$180,000 price tag for Miami Twp. boy’s prescription

High cost of prescriptions puts some drugs out of reach

Dayton man lead plaintiff in drug suit alleging price-gouging

Million-dollar drug keeps local woman alive

Read fine print: Prescription drug discounts may contain catch

Trending - Most Read Stories

Ohio leaders critical of Trump’s comments on Russia, call Putin a ‘foe’

Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:50 PM
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 4:50 PM

Vladimir Putin Denies Russian Intervention In 2016 Election At Helsinki Summit

Ohio lawmakers and other U.S. leaders say Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. and took issue with President Donald Trump’s comments Monday during a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin where the president declined to back his own intelligence services.

“Russia absolutely meddled in our election in 2016. Putin clearly intended to hurt (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign and expected presidency. Russia’s interference is a threat to our democracy and democracies around the world. Putin is not our friend,” Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton said.

RELATED: Russian media suggest Putin-Trump summit a step forward

Content Continues Below

Just last Friday, a federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials on charges of hacking Democratic files. The charges were a result of a year-long investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called the president’s comments “troubling.”

“He failed to stand up to Vladimir Putin on some of the most critical security issues facing our country and our allies,” Portman said.

President Trump held a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland today. The two talked for nearly two hours alone, except for their translators in the room. Afterward, they held a news conference to discuss their meeting...but most of the media's questions focused on a single topic. Mola Lenghi has more details from The White House.

“When given the opportunity, President Trump did not hold President Putin to task for election meddling, for the illegal annexation of Crimea, or for the continued aggression in Eastern Ukraine.

Youngstown-area Congressman Tim Ryan accused Trump of a “disheartening betrayal” to all U.S. service members when he did not challenge Putin on accusations Russian intelligence hacked Democratic e-mails to damage the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

In a harshly worded statement, Ryan, D-Niles, called Trump’s performance “a disgraceful setback to the United States’ global leadership; an insult to those serving in our intelligence agencies; and a disheartening betrayal of every service member defending the U.S. government’s interests against Russian government hostility.”

Ryan said that “Trump’s appeasement of Putin with denials of Russia’s continued cyberattacks on our nation is pathetic and weak—especially coming just hours after referring to the European Union as a great ‘foe,’ and days after 12 Russians were indicted as part of special counsel Mueller’s investigation.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

“The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” Ryan said. “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, charged Trump “missed an opportunity” to challenge Putin, adding “the intelligence experts we trust to keep America safe have said that Russia continues to threaten our democracy and our critical infrastructure, and the president missed an opportunity to do something about it.”

RELATED: What people are saying

“The Ukrainian community in Ohio knows all too well the dangers of unchecked Russian aggression,” Brown said. “We must demand Russia turn over the spies who hacked our election and show Putin we will not put up with threats to our infrastructure that undercut our democratic institutions.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich talked to CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday morning about what his expectations would be from the Trump, Putin meeting.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who may run for president in 2020, tweeted: “We need to be clear. Russia is our foe. Putin is actively trying to hurt our country. America needs to speak with one voice against Russia.”

Rep, Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati, said “Putin's assertion stands opposite the facts from our intelligence community.”

“As the U.S. intelligence community and the House Intelligence Committee investigation concluded, Russia attempted to sow chaos and undermine our democratic institutions,” Wenstrup said. “I don’t believe that Putin will ever admit that his government has attempted to undermine our democratic institutions as well as others.”

“It is up to us, the United States of America, to stop foreign adversaries, like Russia, from interfering in our democratic process,” he said.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Perales GOP opponent indicted for extortion and coercion

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:48 PM

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek defeated Republican Jocelyn Smith of Fairborn in the May 8, 2018 Republican primary election
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek defeated Republican Jocelyn Smith of Fairborn in the May 8, 2018 Republican primary election

Former Republican statehouse candidate Jocelyn Smith, 36, of Fairborn, was indicted on felony and misdemeanor counts related to alleged threats she made during her campaign against State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, during this year’s GOP primary, according to Greene County Common Pleas Court records.

Smith faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion, according to court records of the secret indictment filed June 15. Smith, who is a registered-nurse case manager at Sheakley Unicomp and a teacher at Fortis College, is scheduled to be arraigned in Greene County Common Pleas Court on July 6 at 1 p.m.

RELATED: Perales: My opponent is extorting me

Content Continues Below

Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller referred the case to a special prosecutor, Madison County Prosecutor Stephen J. Pronai, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

“The indictment against my client, Jocelyn Smith, is a politically motivated witch hunt by the Greene County ‘good-old-boys’ network and a prosecutorial abuse of discretion and power that will be vigorously defended against,” said Smith’s attorney, Ben Swift, in an email Friday. “We look forward to our day in court when all of the true facts will come out.”

Perales, a former Greene County commissioner and Beavercreek councilman, said he just wants to focus on serving his western Greene County 73rd District, which he has represented since 2013.

“There are no winners in this situation. Justice just needs to take its course,” Perales said. “People have to be held accountable for their words and deeds. I remain focused on winning in November.”


See the Facebook Live of Smith’s March 27 news conference


On May 8 Perales defeated Smith 80 percent to 20 percent after bitter primary campaign. Perales faces Kim McCarthy, a Sugarcreek Twp. Democrat, in the Nov. 6 General Election.

During the campaign, Smith alleged that Perales had choked, forcibly kissed, fondled and sexted with her in 2015.

RELATED:Ohio House Rep. denies opponent’s claim he kissed and choked her

Perales, who is married, admits sending inappropriate sexually oriented text messages to Smith during a brief consensual relationship in early 2015 but denies that he choked, kissed or touched her in any intimate way. Perales said Smith sent him topless photos of herself but that he did not send any sexually oriented photos to her.

Smith denied sending the pictures and said that because she refused to have sex with him Perales would not sponsor a pancreatic cancer specialty license plate bill she supported. State records show Perales did co-sponsor and vote for a bill establishing the specialty plate.

RELATED: Perales prevails over Smith in bizarre Greene County statehouse race

The indictment stems from a complaint accusing Smith of extortion that Perales filed with Fairborn Police in April after Smith held a March 27 news conference in Fairborn. At the news conference, Smith said that if Perales did not resign from the state legislature and withdraw from the Republican primary, she would release texts and other documentation she said proved her allegations.

“Please don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages and other mountains of evidence,” Smith said at the news conference. “I think you know the honorable thing to do is to step down.”

RELATED:‘Don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages,’ local candidate tells lawmaker 

In a May 2 interview Smith called Perales’ extortion complaint “a bogus charge. Perales is very good at writing these false reports.”

Smith ultimately released some sexually oriented texts to local news media but there was no way to verify that they came from Perales, nor did they contain any proof that he had choked, forcibly kissed or fondled her.

Perales questioned Smith’s credibility, saying her story changed multiple times and pointing to court cases involving her.

RELATED: Polygraph test for local statehouse candidate canceled

In 2014, a Warren County judge placed Smith in a pre-trial diversion program on three counts of telephone harassment of a man, according to court records. She completed the program and the case was dismissed in November 2014.

In September 2017 Smith successfully petitioned the court to expunge the case, according to Warren County court records. 

In 2015 she obtained a temporary civil protection order against the man in the telephone harassment case, and that protection order was later dismissed at her request, according to Greene County court records.

In a separate court case, a civil protection order was issued in 2009 against Smith by a Clark County Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court magistrate after a former boyfriend accused her of harassing him after they broke up, Clark County court records show. That temporary order was dismissed 17 days later after a hearing in which a Clark County Common Pleas magistrate warned Smith against escalating her behavior. 

In 2008 Smith was fired as a Clark County deputy after being accused of showing photos of her nude breasts to male co-workers, pointing pepper spray at an inmate as a joke and having an inappropriate relationship with a former inmate. Smith denied all the charges except the pepper-spray incident but lost her 2009 lawsuit and 2012 appeal alleging race and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination.

Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis responded to the indictment of Smith by saying, that Democratic Party “candidates are focused on fixing the GOP culture of corruption in Columbus, rather than the unseemly details of their opponents' private lives. That said, we hope Representative Perales has taken the time over the past few months to reflect on how he should interact with constituents moving forward."

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

‘Throw the bums out’ mantra didn’t apply to primary election

The deaths of five women in Dayton linked by drugs, possible foul play

Two drug deaths from one family. Says mom: ‘It was like living in hell’

Trending - Most Read Stories

Democrat running for Congress in Warren, Hamilton counties won’t back Pelosi

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 12:57 PM
Updated: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 12:57 PM

Aftab Pureval
Aftab Pureval

A Democrat seeking to flip Ohio’s 1st Congressional District in November says he won’t support U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi for Speaker if the party regains control of the House of Representatives.

RELATED: Pelosi says Rep. Jim Jordan should have known about wrestlers’ abuse

Cincinnati’s Aftab Pureval, who grew up in Beavercreek, has joined a growing list of Democratic congressional candidates who are distancing themselves from the House minority leader from California. Pureval told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he believes there should be a new generation of leadership as “Washington is broken.”

Content Continues Below

The 1st District includes all of Warren County and part of Hamilton County.

The 35-year-old former lawyer for Procter & Gamble is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in the November election. Chabot is seeking a 12th term in the traditionally Republican district.

A number of Democratic candidates nationwide have distanced themselves from Pelosi during their campaigns.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Rep. Jordan calls allegations he knew of sex abuse at Ohio State ‘bogus’

Published: Friday, July 06, 2018 @ 9:12 PM

Getty Images photo
Getty Images
Getty Images photo(Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan offered an extended and impassioned defense Friday night against accusations that he knew of abuse perpetrated by a doctor for Ohio State’s wrestling team but did nothing.

“If I had known, I would’ve dealt with it,” Jordan, an Urbana Republican, told Fox News host Bret Baier on Baier’s show, “Special Report with Bret Baier.” “A good coach puts the interests of his student athletes first. I would’ve dealt with it if I’d known anything happened.” 

He was reacting to a July 3 NBC report that three wrestlers accused him of knowing about sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss, a doctor for Ohio State University who killed himself in 2005. Ohio State launched an investigation into possible abuse by Strauss in April.

Content Continues Below

His interview with Fox News capped an emotional week: His son got married last Saturday and on Thursday his nephew, Eli Stickley, a wrestler for the University of Wisconsin, died in a car crash in Illinois. 

>> Standout HS Graham wrestler, Urbana native dies in crash

In his interview with Baier, Jordan made a distinction between “conversations in the locker room” and abuse, saying overhearing chatter in the locker room “is a lot different than people coming up and talking about abuse.” 

Jordan also questioned the credibility of two of the five former wrestlers who’ve accused him of not reporting the abuse. He noted that Dunyasha Yetts has had legal troubles and Mike DiSabato has had a long-running feud with Ohio State University. Yetts served 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal mail fraud charges, and DiSabato has been involved in legal battles with Ohio State after losing his licensing agreement with the university. 

“What bothers me the most is that the guys that are saying these things, I know they know the truth,” Jordan said. “I know they do.” 

He also insisted accusations by former OSU wrestlers Shawn Dailey and Mark Coleman that he knew of abuse “are not accurate.” 

Jordan questioned the timing of the story coming out, saying it happened roughly a week after Jordan grilled deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein over an investigation into whether Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election and just as Jordan is considering a run for speaker. 

And he called Perkins Coie, one of the law firms linked with the OSU investigation into whether there was abuse “Hillary Clinton’s law firm.” He said he found it odd that the same law firm that found a former British spy who had a dossier on now-President Donald Trump couldn’t find an accurate email address to contact Jordan to talk about the investigation. Jordan said he would likely talk to OSU investigators about allegations against Strauss next week. 

His defense came on the same day that a fifth former OSU wrestler accused Jordan of knowing about allegations of sexual abuse by Strauss when Strauss was a sports doctor for Ohio State University. 

“There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State,” Mark Coleman told the Wall Street Journal in a story published Friday. “I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.” 

Coleman, a former UFC world champion, is now one of five former wrestlers who say that Jordan, an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s, was aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by Strauss. 

Coleman had earlier discussed his abuse by Strauss in a video produced by those accusing Strauss of improper conduct. In the video, he discussed receiving a physical from Strauss that involved the doctor touching him inappropriately. “I never had a physical like this before,” he said. 

But Coleman did not mention Jordan in that video. 

Separately, the Associated Press reported that in all, seven former athletes and a former nursing student shared detailed allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1970s against Strauss. 

The eight men, including three who didn't want their names made public, say they want to see anyone who ignored concerns about Strauss held accountable and hope to make sure something similar doesn’t happen to others. 

They described how Strauss fondled them during medical exams and ogled naked young men, sometimes showering among athletes multiple times a day for no apparent reason or perching himself on a stool to stare. Some said Strauss groped them barehanded during physicals, had them drop their pants even while examining them for a cough or heartburn, and badgered students to go home with him. 

Two of the athletes who spoke to the AP say Strauss wasn’t stopped even after they complained — one to a coach and another to a school physician. 

Former wrestling team captain Dave Mulvin said he raised concerns in the late 1970s, when Strauss fondled him during an exam that Mulvin abruptly ended, telling the doctor his behavior was “weird.” Mulvin said he went to the student health center to finish the exam and complained about Strauss to another doctor, who shrugged it off. 

Some athletes saw it as the price of getting medicine or treatment. Nick Nutter, an All-America wrestler in the 1990s, said he constantly did a calculation before deciding whether to see Strauss: “Is this injury bad enough that I’m going to get molested for it?”

Dailey, meanwhile, confirmed to The Dispatch he was groped half a dozen times by Strauss while Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach. Dailey told NBC News he was too embarrassed to report the abuse directly to Jordan at the time, but he said Jordan took part in conversations where Strauss’ abuse of many other team members came up. 

Dailey, questioning Jordan’s denials of knowing about the abuse, corroborated an account by Yetts that he'd protested to Jordan and head coach Russ Hellickson after Strauss tried to pull down his shorts when Yetts saw the doctor for a thumb injury. 

“Dunyasha comes back and tells Jimmy, ‘Seriously, why do I have to pull down my pants for a thumb injury?’" Dailey recalled to NBC news. “Jimmy said something to the extent of, ‘If he tried that with me, I would kill him.’” 

Clarifying his account to The Dispatch, Dailey said he had been close to Jordan while at Ohio State, but that he’d “not maintained regular contact with him” since. 

“It’s not that I think someone went to Jim and said ‘I’ve been assaulted,’ and he ignored it, I think it’s that there were warning signs that were missed,” Dailey said. 

Other former wrestlers expressed skepticism that abuse occurred. 

Phil Anglim, who wrestled for the Buckeyes from 1978-81, said he was not aware of any abuse at Ohio State by Strauss. 

The era was different and far less politically correct. While they talked — and joked — openly about Strauss’ suspected homosexuality, Anglim is skeptical of the prospect that the diminutive Strauss could’ve assaulted one of the wrestlers if he’d tried. 

“This is not Larry Nassar, Michigan State stuff,” he said, referring to the former gymnastics coach sentenced to prison for abusing numerous girls and young women. 

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

READ MORE COVERAGE:

>> 5 wrestlers claim Jordan aware of OSU doctor’s alleged abuse

>> Report: 5 former OSU wrestlers say Jordan aware of team doctor’s alleged sex abuse

>> President Trump backs Rep. Jim Jordan ‘100 percent’ against claims he ignored OSU sex abuse

>> Jordan questions timing of OSU sex abuse allegations

>> Rep. Jim Jordan: ‘I would have done something’ about OSU abuse claims

Trending - Most Read Stories