Campaign in Favor of Proposition 79 Launches
The Yes on Proposition 79 campaign on Wednesday held a rally in Sacramento, with leaders promising a strong grassroots and Web-based effort, the Contra Costa Times reports (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 9/15).
Proposition 79 would require pharmaceutical companies to provide discounts to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level 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.
Proposition 79, which is backed by Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups, is competing on the Nov. 8 ballot against Proposition 78, which would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount program for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. Proposition 78 is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and has more than $72 million in campaign funds (California Healthline, 8/16).
Leaders of the Proposition 79 campaign did not indicate how much money they have raised, but Health Access Executive Director Anthony Wright said the campaign currently has tens of thousands of dollars to spend, the Times reports. In addition, the group will receive some of the $10 million raised for several ballot measures by the union-supported Alliance for a Better California.
In addition, supporters of Proposition 79 believe they can gain votes by highlighting support from organizations, including the League of Women Voters, Consumers Union, the Gray Panthers, CalPIRG and Health Access (Contra Costa Times, 9/15).
The Orange County Register 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.
According to the Register, the ad's claim that Proposition 79 could jeopardize $480 million in drug company rebates is misleading, both because the ad uses an outdated figure -- the state receives about $600 million in drug company rebates, according to the Legislative Analyst. In addition, the Register reports that it is "unlikely that the state would lose" all of its rebate money "because that would mean that every single drug company would have to simultaneously abandon the ... Medi-Cal program, one of the largest drug purchasers in the nation" (Kim Quach, Orange County Register, 9/16).
Additional information about Propositions 78 and 79 is available online.