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Salem, OR -- Despite repeated calls and forewarnings from Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy (OR CSE) on the negative consequences of instituting prescription drug price controls or formularies, the state legislature-- on the last day of the Oregon legislative session -- passed HB 3300, the Oregon Prescription Drug Formulary Plan.
In response to its passage, Russ Walker, Oregon CSE director, stated, "Unfortunately, we were the only group educating and mobilizing Oregonians to fight against this extremely bad piece of legislation. It automatically becomes an uphill battle when there are trade offs tied to the bill -- everything from major league baseball to tax cuts."
Walker added that, "This piece of legislation only makes things worse for Oregonians. HB 3300 is going to establish price-controls on prescription drugs sold in Oregon and create another bureaucratic agency. Worst of all, this bureaucratic agency called the Health Resources Commission, will group similar drugs together and then recommend that the cheapest of the drugs be prescribed in nearly all circumstances to individuals in the plan. Plain and simple, there is no choice and no competition within this bill."
Uphill Battle -- OR CSE was the only grassroots organization to fight against this prescription drug formulary plan. Through frequent OR CSE club and town hall meetings, OR CSE educated and mobilized its grassroots army on this issue. The height of the mobilization occurred on OR CSE Day at the Capitol. On that day, over 200 activists stormed to lobby their legislators on the bill and other core OR CSE issues. Over 400 individual lobby visits were conducted in all.
Walker was also a featured guest on the airwaves educating the public on the deficiencies of the bill and its negative consequences. Most recently, Walker and 14 OR CSE super-activists met with Karen Minnis the House Majority Leader, Senators Jason Atkinson and David Nelson, and with House Speaker Mark Simmons’ staff to discuss and show grassroots opposition to the bill.
In the end, Walker stated that, "With additional resources, we could have put up a stronger fight, involved more Oregonians, and possibly changed the outcome of this piece of legislation."