Riverside Press-Enterprise Recommends ‘No’ Vote on Drug Discount Measures
Neither Proposition 78 nor Proposition 79 on the Nov. 8 special election ballot "deserves to pass" because they are both "flawed," a Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial states (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/2).
Proposition 78, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last month endorsed, 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, 9/30).
Citing a provision of Proposition 78 that would give "drug companies the power to junk the whole concept" if there are "insufficient discounts to make it worthwhile" and the possibility that Proposition 79 would "result in drug companies offering fewer rebates to the Medi-Cal program, inflating costs to taxpayers," the editorial recommends that residents vote "no" on both measures.
The editorial concludes, "Confronting the rising cost of prescription drugs requires careful study and deliberation, not defective plans baying for voters' attentions in noisy initiative campaigns" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/2).
Additional information on Propositions 78 and 79 is available online.