08 November 2016

Something Else to Watch Election Night

Needless to say, big pharma is blowing a gasket over this:
One of the election season’s most fiercely fought campaigns is over a California ballot initiative that promises to control drug prices, but would affect only a fraction of the state.

Yet it’s making the drug industry very nervous.

Proposition 61 requires California state agencies to pay no more for drugs than the price paid by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, which, by law, receives a 24% discount on drugs, and can negotiate even lower prices. While the cost savings could be significant, most Californians don’t receive drugs from the agencies covered, which include universities, state prisons, and some parts of the state’s low-income insurance program, Medi-Cal. Depending on whose numbers you believe, the number of people covered ranges from 4.4 million to 7 million, in a state with about 40 million residents.

Despite the relatively small impact, the drug industry has been working furiously to defeat the referendum, raising $109 million as of Nov. 2, according to Ballotpedia, a website which tracks such things. Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer each contributed at least $9.3 million to the campaign, while dozens of other companies also have chipped in. Combined with the $16.9 million spent by advocates—mostly the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which runs a chain of clinics—it’s the most costly ballot initiative in US history.
Here's the hoping that the good guys win on this one, but I initiative petition in California tends to be driven by money, and pharma has been dumping a lot of money into this.


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