AP/Riverside Press-Enterprise Examines Advertisement Addressing Prescription Drug Ballot Measures
The AP/Riverside Press-Enterprise on Friday published an analysis of a television advertisement paid for by pharmaceutical companies recommending that state residents vote in favor of Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79 on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot (Elias, AP/Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/9).
Proposition 78 would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount plan for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Proposition 79 would establish a mandatory prescription drug discount program for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level. Pharmaceutical companies would have to participate in the program or face exclusion from the Medi-Cal formulary in some cases.
Under Proposition 79, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices. Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups support the measure (California Healthline 8/16).
According to the AP/Press-Enterprise, the ad "hammers away at the industry's biggest theme: the [Proposition 79] will create a new, burdensome bureaucracy that will give Sacramento bean counters veto power over the doctor-patient drug prescribing relationship." In addition, "the commercial fails to mention that the industry-backed Proposition 78 would also create a new bureaucracy whose costs will 'probably range from the millions to low tens of millions annually,'" the AP/Press-Enterprise reports.
The analysis, when examining the ad's statement that Proposition 79 could deny patients access to medicine their doctor prescribes, said, "It seems doubtful doctors won't prescribe medicines vital to their patients' health because of extra paperwork."
The AP/Press-Enterprise analysis includes a transcript of the ad (AP/Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/9).
Additional information on Proposition 78 is available online. Additional information on Proposition 79 is available online.