Big Pharma Breaks the Bank to Keep California Drug Prices Out of Reach for State’s Voters

Nov. 9, 2016

Big Pharma Breaks the Bank to Keep California Drug Prices Out of Reach for State’s Voters

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: On Tuesday, California’s Proposition 61, a ballot measure that would have required the state to pay no more for prescriptions than the Department of Veterans Administration, fell short of votes needed for enactment. Observers nationwide followed this vote closely because price spikes for prescription medications have sparked congressional debate, public protests and a range of proposals from various state legislatures on how to ensure access to affordable, lifesaving medicines. Big Pharma raised a staggering $126 million* to defeat Proposition 61.

The record $126 million for ad buys and other publicity raised by Big Pharma corporations and their front groups and allies to defeat Proposition 61 is a sign of desperation, not strength. The California ballot measure, put simply, was aimed at lowering prescription prices for millions of Californians who want relief from the constant price increases of prescription drug corporations. As more voters become aware of their ability to do something about prescription price gouging, companies will discover that their brute force monopoly assaults have truly lost the people, and they will soon lose the power, too.

*This number includes both contributions and campaign debt, according to pharma campaign filings.