The state budget office says its required analysis of Issue 2 shows Ohio could save money if voters approve the drug price initiative next month. But the report says there are many variables that make it impossible to predict how much the state would save.
Issue 2 would require the state pay no more for drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs does.
Dennis Willard is a spokesman the pro Issue 2 group known as Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, which has said Issue 2 would save the state $400 million a year.
“If you look at the analysis, it does say a yes vote on Issue 2 will save the state money. They just don’t determine a specific amount," Willard said.
The report, created by the Office of Budget and Management, says state savings are "plausible, but uncertain."
The report says if certain conditions are met, Issue 2 could save millions of dollars for state employee insurance plans, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and Ohio prisons.
But savings for the state’s Medicaid and HIV drug programs are unlikely, the report claims, and legal action related to the issue could offset other savings.
Issue 2 requires change to take effect by July 1, 2018. The report says "affected state entities and programs simply could not be ready to comply with Issue 2 in that time frame."
The report doesn’t reflect an official state stance on Issue 2.
The issue is opposed by a coalition of pharmaceutical companies and major medical and veterans groups.
Groups on both sides have spent millions of dollars inundating Ohio radio and TV space with advertisements. Issue 2 is expected to rank among the most expensive ballot issues in Ohio history.