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Judge Ok's Jackley's Explanation On Prescription Drug Ballot Question

Kealey Bultena

A South Dakota circuit court judge is denying a request by drug companies for the Attorney General to rewrite a ballot measure question.

The ballot question caps the amount state agencies can pay for prescription drugs.

The ballot measure question requires state agencies to pay the same, or lower prices for prescription drugs as the US Department of Veterans Affairs pays…

Some prescription drug entities took issue with Attorney General Marty Jackley’s explanation for voters.

It’s the job of the Attorney General to write a neutral explanation for ballot measure petitions that are no more than 200 words in length

Jackley says his explanation is a fair statement of what the measure does

“They certainly have a right within a 7-day time frame to challenge that. In this instance, some of the larger drug companies took issue with it, which they have a right to do,” Jackley says. “But ultimately the court agreed with me that it was a fair and adequate statement of what really was being proposed for the voters.”

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, along with South Dakota Bio Tech brought the challenge to Jackley’s explanation.

Joni Johnson is the executive director for SD Bio Tech. She says the attorney general forgot to include a key section in his explanation, which allows ballot measure proponents to defend the law in court, if it’s challenged

“What that does is outline and unprecedented ability for the ballot proponents to engage in legal defense of the ballot issue, should it become a law. That’s not mentioned anywhere in the explanation,” Johnson says. “We feel like that could have an impact on the voters on what they decide and how they decide to vote.

Johnson says she expects the plaintiffs involved to appeal the court’s decision to the state supreme court.

Johnson says South Dakota Bio Tech opposes the ballot measure questions because it could lead to less money in the industry, which can go toward innovation.