Los Angeles Times Examines Pharmaceutical Firms’ Campaigns Against Legislation To Allow Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
The Los Angeles Times on Sunday looked at drug companies' lobbying efforts against some state measures to allow the importation of lower-priced, U.S.-made prescription drugs from Canada. Drug makers have financed "altruistic-sounding" lobbying groups, such as Cures, in an effort to "kill a flood of legislation" -- including four measures being voted on this week and 14 others currently under consideration in the state -- that "would ease the way for drug imports from Canada," the Times reports. Several pharmaceutical firms have "aggressively courted" Latino health advocacy groups in part by offering them funding, leading some groups -- such as the California Latino Medical Association -- to break with most other medical groups by opposing reimportation legislation, according to the Times. "We have had pharmaceutical companies indirectly state that they would be interested in funding our programs, but at the same time, they have a concern that they be able to participate in the policy decision-making process," Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, said, adding that the group does not accept such funds. Drug makers also have sponsored events "all over Sacramento to warn about what they call the dangers of imported drugs," and some pharmaceutical firm-sponsored groups have employed public relations firms to promote their anti-reimportation messages, the Times reports. In addition, pharmaceutical companies have donated $327,000 to the campaigns of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and some legislators, according to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (Salladay/Rau, Los Angeles Times, 5/23).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.