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The next battleground over prescription drug prices is now playing out in Ohio, where consumer groups and the pharmaceutical industry this week launched dueling ad campaigns over a controversial November ballot measure that is being promoted to lower costs.

At issue is the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, which would require state agencies to pay no more for medicines than the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency currently gets a 24 percent federally mandated discount off average manufacturer prices and the measure, if passed, would presumably benefit more than 3.4 million residents.


This is the same approach, though, that was pursued by advocacy groups last year in a failed ballot measure in California, where drug makers contributed nearly $110 million to defeat the closely watched effort. At the time, it was seen as a litmus test for tapping consumer anxiety over drug prices, which seems to have only increased during the intervening months.

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