GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen Give More Than $12M To Support Ballot Initiative on Prescription Drug Discounts
Two pharmaceutical companies last week gave more than $12 million to support a ballot initiative addressing prescription drug discounts by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Sacramento Bee reports.
GlaxoSmithKline contributed $8.5 million and Amgen contributed $3.9 million to the PhRMA California Initiative Fund (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 6/25). PhRMA is supporting an initiative that would ask drug makers to provide voluntary prescription drug discounts to low- and moderate-income state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 6/16).
Drug companies this spring donated about $10 million to fund the collection of signatures to qualify the measure for the Nov. 8 special election ballot.
By comparison, the entire drug industry spent about $9.8 million in 2004 on federal elections, including all congressional campaigns and the presidential election, according to Larry Noble, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign-finance watchdog group.
Unlike federal campaigns, California ballot initiatives have no contribution limits, the Bee reports.
The PhRMA initiative is one of two competing measures on prescription drug discounts on the ballot. If voters approve both measures, the initiative with the greatest number of votes would take effect, according to the Bee.
The prescription drug measure supported by consumer advocacy group Health Access would require drug makers to provide discounts to some state residents or face exclusion form Medi-Cal (Sacramento Bee, 6/25). State residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level would be eligible for discounts under the program (California Healthline, 6/14).
The Alliance for a Better California provided funds to gather signatures to qualify the measure for the special election ballot. Initiative supporters have not yet formed a fund-raising committee, the Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 6/25).