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Proposition 61 Debate: Will Proposal Cut Prices? Representatives of Yes and No Campaigns to Square Off at UC Berkeley on Saturday

Oct. 13, 2016


Proposition 61 Debate: Will Proposal Cut Prices? Representatives of Yes and No Campaigns to Square Off at UC Berkeley on Saturday

WHAT: The public, in conjunction with Berkeley students and faculty, is invited to attend a debate and discussion by those for and against California’s Proposition 61 (Prop. 61), the Drug Price Standards Initiative, which will be voted on during the upcoming elections in November. Proponents say it will reduce prescription prices by tying what California pays to purchase medicines to what the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department pays. Opponents say the proposal is poorly designed and may complicate negotiations with pharmaceutical companies without much benefit. Spokespeople for the “Yes” and “No” campaigns will argue the merits. 

Price spikes for prescription medications have sparked congressional debate, public protests and a range of proposals from state legislatures on how to ensure access to affordable, lifesaving medicines for millions of Americans. Many tens of millions have been spent on advertising by opponents and supporters of the proposition. Opponents include pharmaceutical industry trade associations, the California Medical Association and the state chapters of Veterans of Foreign Wars. Supporters include the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and AARP California. Read more here.

Saturday’s debate is sponsored by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, Berkeley Journal of International Law and the Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights. Public Citizen is working with UAEM to organize the event. UAEM is a global, student-driven organization focused on increasing access to essential medicines with chapters at more than 30 research universities in the United States, and more than 100 chapters in 18 countries worldwide. Students represent multiple disciplines including law, medicine, science, public health, economics and many other areas. 

Public Citizen is a national consumer advocacy organization with more than 400,000 members and supporters nationwide.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. PT Saturday, Oct. 15

WHERE: UC Berkeley, Dwinelle Hall, Room 155, South Dr., Berkeley, CA

WHO: Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines division, moderator
Kathy Fairbanks, partner at Bicker, Castillo & Fairbanks Public Affairs (No on 61)
Dan Johnston, (Yes on 61)