My name is Roger Tackett. I am a combat veteran and a Purple Heart recipient.
In 1967, I was wounded serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam, and I’ve been in a wheelchair since.
I have dedicated my life to public service as a Clark County commissioner for 28 years, so I know how state and local government work together. I’ve also been honored to serve as the chairman of the Governor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, working under two governors: Ted Strickland and John Kasich.
Over the years I have worked hard for vets around Ohio, especially when it came to making sure they received the care they need. I support Issue 2, the Drug Price Relief Act, because we vets have fought for too much abroad to be bullied at home by drug companies who are more concerned with profits over the people they serve.
I’ve seen the ads that say passing Issue 2 will raise drug prices for vets. With all due respect to my veteran brothers in these ads, that statement is not true. Drug companies can’t just raise prices on our medications. There are federal legal protections that keep them from doing this. The very system of VA drug pricing we use today is in place because these same drug companies tried to engage in price-gouging vets as they came home from the Gulf War — seeking to inflict financial scars on top of the scars they were already bringing home.
Here’s what you need to know about Issue 2.
• Voting yes on Issue 2 helps all Ohioans by saving tax money and reducing drug prices.
• All the money funding the opposition is coming from the same greedy drug companies who willfully charge hundreds and even thousands of dollars for medicines that cost them a small fraction to produce. These are also the same drug companies who pushed addictive opioid drugs in our communities and created a damaging epidemic.
• The AIDS Health Foundation, the organization funding the YES campaign, is a non-profit that helps its patients regardless of their ability to pay and actually stands to make less money when Issue 2 passes.
What the drug companies are doing in their advertising amounts to shameful scare tactics and threats designed to confuse and cover the real reason they are pouring millions of dollars into Ohio to fight Issue 2. It’s all about the money. They’re scared that if Issue 2 passes in Ohio that other states, as well as private insurers, will follow suit. The question is: Will we give into these threats? I didn’t give in to threats when I served our country in the Marines, and I certainly don’t intend to give in to them now.
This is an opportunity for Ohioans to take the lead on the important issue of out-of-control pharmaceutical drug prices and push our policy makers to start taking this issue more seriously. To date, they’ve done little, if anything, over the past several years while these companies continued to raise prices on their patients for no reason other than we let them do it. At the same time, they charge countries around the world a fraction of the cost we pay. Why should Americans have to pay more?
Did you know a monthly supply of Advair, an asthma drug that sells for $154 in the United States, costs only about $10 in India? The drug companies are taking advantage of us. And Ohio is letting them. It’s time we put our foot down.
Voting yes on Issue 2 will go a long way to helping to lower drug prices for millions of Ohioans. The status quo is not sustainable, and the system is rigged against patients. But, the good news is, we can do something about it. We can vote yes on Issue 2.
Roger Tackett is a Combat Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient. He served as a commissioner in Clark County (Ohio) for 28 years and formerly served as the chairman of the Governor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, working under two governors: Democrat Ted Strickland and Republican John Kasich.