Ohio News Briefs


State tells insurers they can’t block lower drug price talk

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s insurance regulators are telling health insurers not to enforce gag orders that stop pharmacists from telling customers about the lowest drug price available.

The Ohio Department of Insurance also is prohibiting charging customers more for their prescription medication than it would cost if they paid without insurance.

The changes come after The Columbus Dispatch reported that independent pharmacists say CVS Caremark is overcharging taxpayers and driving out retail competition.

The pharmacists say the company is paying lower rates to pharmacists who fill prescriptions for Medicaid patients and keeping the savings.

CVS Caremark denies that such arrangement exist in their agreements with local pharmacists. A company official also says it does not prevent pharmacies from talking to their patients about the availability of lower drug prices.

Weather Service confirms 4 tornadoes in Ohio

WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) — National Weather Service survey teams have confirmed at least four tornadoes slammed through parts of Ohio.

The strongest appeared to be in Grove City, near Columbus in central Ohio. It had estimated winds of 100 to 110 mph that damaged hundreds of homes, buildings and utility poles Tuesday.

Another tornado touched down north of Xenia in western Ohio, damaging several barns and killing five sheep. One near Selma in Clark County destroyed a barn and damaged several other buildings. The NWS reports that a tornado that touched down briefly in Madison County near London damaged several barns.

The weather has turned colder across Ohio and forecasters in Wilmington say in Thursday’s advisory that a weekend winter storm watch is in effect for southern Ohio — with snow possible.

Badly decomposed body washes ashore at Lake Erie

GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio (AP) — Authorities are trying to identify a badly decomposed body that washed ashore along Lake Erie in northeastern Ohio.

The body was discovered Wednesday.

The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department says the body is that of a white male, and it had been in the water for “some time.”

The body has been taken to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Police say the body did not show any external injuries.

Man in wheelchair trapped by flames, dies in house fire

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A man who died in an Ohio house fire had called 911 to report that he was trapped by the flames and could not get his wheelchair to an exit.

A medical examiner tells the Akron Beacon Journal that 66-year-old Bayard Betleyoun’s death was caused by complications from smoke inhalation.

A spokeswoman for the Akron fire department says Betleyoun called 911 on Sunday and said he was trapped in his wheelchair in his bedroom. He said he was having trouble breathing before he stopped responding to questions.

The house was engulfed by flames when police arrived, and officers were unable to get inside.

A dog was also killed in the fire. No one else was hurt. The cause is still under investigation.

Council lays out plan to investigate city manager turmoil

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati City Council has laid the groundwork to investigate their city manager who is accused of bullying employees and retaliating against those who disagreed with him.

The council voted for the plan Wednesday that gives two council members broad authority to lead an investigation and to solicit testimony from employees who claim City Manager Harry Black acted inappropriately on the job.

The move signals the end of several weeks of debate with Democratic Mayor John Cranley, who wants to force Black out.

A council majority recently refused to fire Black, saying Cranley’s objections were personal rather than professional.

Black says he regrets council’s decision to begin an investigation and says he plans to hire an outside attorney to represent him.