Los Angeles Should Approve Prescription Drug Bulk Purchasing Plan, City Council Member, Advocate Write
The Los Angeles City Council should approve a proposal that "combin[es] the purchasing power of individual consumers, small businesses, hospitals, employees and others" to negotiate discounts on prescription drugs, City Council member Antonio Villaraigosa and Jerry Flanagan, health care director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, write in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. Because the new Medicare prescription drug law has "several deficiencies," such a proposal "offers a meaningful solution at the local level," Villaraigosa and Flanagan write (Villaraigosa/Flanagan Los Angeles Times, 4/27). Villaraigosa has worked on such a proposal with the foundation to establish a not-for-profit consortium that small businesses, employees and residents would pay a fee to join. The consortium would negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies by using volume purchasing. Flanagan said that Los Angeles would be the first city to implement a bulk purchasing plan for residents (California Healthline 3/18). The city is negotiating with Los Angeles County and other cities to create "an even bigger purchasing pool," Villaraigosa and Flanagan write. Los Angeles "could become a national model," and city officials can "take the lead by approving the proposed plan and showing the nation how to get a better deal for seniors and others who need more affordable prescription drugs," they conclude (Los Angeles Times, 4/27).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.