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East County News Service

August 23, 2016 (Sacramento) - Proposition 61, the California Drug Price Relief Act, on the November ballot aims to limit price-gouging on drug prices by pharmaceutical companies.  Some drug prices have skyrocketed for no valid reason, only corporate greed. For instance, the cost of an Epi-pen, which delivers life-saving medication for people suffering severe allergic reactions, has recently gone up 800%.

Proposition 61would let state agencies in California negotiate for discount pricing on prescription drugs. The state could pay no more than the U.S.  Veterans Affairs Department, which pays 40% less than Medicare for the same prescription medications.

The initiative would not apply to costs paid by individuals, only to state agencies. It would benefit most Californians on Medi-Cal, public employees such as teachers and firefighters, and lower taxpayers’ costs for mediations for state prison inmates. 

Medi-Cal patients in HMO managed care plans, however, would not be included, since companies such as Kaiser already negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower-priced drugs. This initiative would give state agencies the same right that those insurance companies already have to help lower prescription drug costs.

The bill is supported by consumer and medical groups including the California Nurses Association.

It is opposed by the pharmaceutical industry, which has been exposed funding groups claiming to be independent that are running deceptive ads making false or exaggerated claims in an effort to scare consumers into voting no.

Those ads claim the initiative could lead to higher prices, or medications no longer available in California.

But all major developed nations except the U.S. already have limits on how much these companies can charge for prescription drugs. Those countries haven’t seen the availability of drugs diminish—but have seen costs go down dramatically.


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Get big Pharma Out!

Vote yes on Prop 61 but this is just the first step. We need Single Payer/Medicare For All and get rid of rapacious insurance companies as well as pharmaceutical companies in taking care of our health. Why is it that we are the only major country without Single Payer and the country with the highest medical bills? Get rid of the profit motive in health and that will solve a lot of our health problems. Including being able to only afford an epipen if incredibly rich!