Records: Drugmakers Tussle Over Ohio Opioid Bill’s Price Tag

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Public records show lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry pushed Ohio officials to lower their estimates of what it would cost the state if lawmakers approved a bill requiring Medicaid and other insurers to cover new higher-priced prescription painkillers.

Estimates were adjusted three times on the House bill that sought expanded patient access to the so-called “abuse deterrent” opioids the industry is pushing as a key solution to America’s opioid crisis.

Emails The Associated Press obtained through a public records request show lobbyists sought to influence Ohio lawmakers and analysts during the months the annual cost estimates to expand Medicaid to cover the new drugs dropped from a high of $167 million to $2.8 million.

The bill died in December, but 10 other states are looking at the issue this year.