PhRMA President Discusses Prescription Drug Ballot Measures With Legislators, Governor
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President Billy Tauzin last week in Sacramento met privately with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and Democratic legislators to discuss propositions on the Nov. 8 special election ballot that would create prescription drug discount programs, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Proposition 79, which consumer groups and unions support, would exclude drug companies from the Medi-Cal formulary if they do not offer discounts on drugs to state residents whose incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level. Proposition 78, an initiative sponsored by the drug industry, would provide voluntary discounts to state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.
According to the AP/Times, "[l]ittle progress was reported" when Tauzin left Sacramento.
The pharmaceutical industry's initiative campaign is "expected to be the costliest in state history" and to date has raised more than $53 million, a figure that "is expected to rise significantly as the special election draws near," the AP/Times reports (Fouhy, AP/Contra Costa Times, 7/18).
According to the Sacramento Bee, drug makers are "particularly concerned" about a provision in Proposition 79 that would allow California residents to sue pharmaceutical companies if it is believed they are making excessive profits from drug sales. Proposition 78 does not include such a provision (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 7/17).
Drug companies "also do not want a successful consumer initiative in trend-setting California to trigger a wave of similar measures" nationwide, the AP/Times reports (AP/Contra Costa Times, 7/18).
Those supporting Proposition 79 have not filed papers to organize a campaign committee to start collecting funds, the Bee reports (Sacramento Bee, 7/17).