Drug Makers Donate $43M to Special Election Campaign on Drug Measures
Pharmaceutical companies in the past month have contributed more than $43 million for a campaign on two prescription drug measures on the Nov. 8 special election ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. So far, the drug industry has raised $53 million for the "initiative battle" between the union-backed Proposition 79, which would require drug makers to offer discounts to some state residents or be excluded from Medi-Cal, and the industry-sponsored Proposition 78, in which pharmaceutical companies would voluntarily provide discounts to some residents, the Chronicle reports.
To date, about $600,000 of the contributions has been transferred to Californians for Affordable Prescriptions, the group that will oversee the campaign in favor of Proposition 78.
Jamie Court -- president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which opposes Proposition 78 -- said the remaining funds are being used as "a deterrent, designed to convince union and consumer groups not to further fund their initiative." Court said, "The drug companies are putting their cannon at the top of the hill and daring the unions to climb it."
Jan Faiks, a vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said, "We are dead serious about passing Prop. 78 because we believe it's a real solution for real people that can take effect immediately. We will do all that's necessary to educate the voters about both initiatives."
The Chronicle reports that pharmaceutical companies' contributions could encourage unions and Democratic legislators "to work harder on a compromise drug cost measure" that could be added to the special election ballot (Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.