Proposition 78 TV Ad Spending Dwarfs Proposition 79 Campaign
The pharmaceutical industry has spent $37 million on TV ads in support of Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79 so far, while the campaign for Proposition 79 have spent nothing on TV ads, state records show, the Orange County Register reports. The pharmaceutical industry has raised about $80 million for its campaign (Sarhaddi Nelson/Kim Quach, Orange County Register, 10/10).
Proposition 78 would establish a voluntary prescription drug discount plan for state residents whose annual incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The measure is supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Proposition 79, a measure supported by Health Access California and a coalition of labor groups, would require drug makers to participate in a prescription drug discount program or face exclusion from the Medi-Cal formulary in some cases. To qualify, state residents' annual incomes could not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level. Under Proposition 79, people could sue a pharmaceutical company if they believe it is participating in illegal pricing practices (California Healthline, 10/7).
Pharmaceutical companies, unions and campaign groups so far have spent nearly $80 million on TV ads for the Nov. 8 special election -- the second-highest amount ever spent in a California election, and the "spending trend is leading to lopsided television battles," the Register reports.
Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said, "In this [election], there probably was a lot of advertising clutter -- 78, 79, which is which, what is the difference?" DiCamillo added, "Early advertising might have muddied the water a bit."
Barbara O'Connor, director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University-Sacramento, said, "Conventional wisdom says that most voters make up their minds in the last 10 days based on paid media, but that's in an environment where there is focus and interest in the election and accompanying candidates. That isn't the case here" (Orange County Register, 10/10).
The Sacramento Bee on Sunday published an analysis of a television advertisement by supporters of Proposition 79 that aired on cable stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco recommending that state residents vote in favor of Proposition 79 and against Proposition 78.
The ad, produced for $1,200 by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, "fits in with the grassroots, low-budget image the Yes on 79 campaign is projecting as a contrast" to the Proposition 78 campaign, the Bee reports. In addition, "consumer groups backing Proposition 79 are hoping voters will realize the measure's opponents are big drug companies with a nearly $80 million budget," the Bee reports.
The Bee analysis includes a transcript of the ad (Sacramento Bee, 10/9).
Additional information on Propositions 78 and 79 is available online.
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Monday reported on fundraising for the prescription drug measures' campaigns. The segment includes comments from Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, which supports Proposition 79 (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/10). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.