PhRMA Prescription Drug Discount Measure Qualifies for Special Election Ballot
A measure supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America that would create a voluntary prescription drug discount program for low- and moderate-income state residents on Wednesday qualified for the November statewide ballot, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 6/16).
The measure would ask drug makers to provide voluntary discounts to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is modeled on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) California Rx proposal. The Senate Health Committee in April rejected a bill (SB 19) that would have enacted the proposal.
California Rx would have provided discounts to about five million state residents (California Healthline, 6/14).
The measure became the sixth to qualify for the Nov. 8 special election, which Schwarzenegger called on Monday.
A random check of signatures indicated that the campaign for the initiative collected more than 429,000 signatures to qualify the measure, according to the secretary of state's office.
Signatures are still being checked for another prescription drug measure (AP/Orange County Register, 6/16). That measure would require drug makers to provide discounts on medications to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level (California Healthline, 6/14).
In other special election news, the California Republican Party "hopes to replicate" the Bush administration's system of "creating an army of organized, technologically equipped get-out-the-vote volunteers in every precinct" to secure voter approval for measures supported by the GOP, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The measures include three constitutional amendments to reform budgeting, political districts and teacher hiring, as well as two initiatives the governor has not endorsed -- a measure to prevent unions from donating to political activities without member consent and a measure that would require health care providers to notify a parent or guardian 48 hours before performing an abortion on an unmarried minor (Drucker, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/16).
Under the measure, the Department of Health Services would be required to maintain detailed records of abortions performed on minors, although the records would exclude names. The measure also would impose civil penalties on individuals who coerce a minor to have an abortion (California Healthline, 6/14).