SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Proposition 61, known as the Drug Price Relief Act, would try to cut down the cost the State of California is paying for prescription drugs.

It would require the state to negotiate with drug companies for prices that are no more than the amounts paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Why the VA threshold?

Because the VA pays 20 to 24 percent less for prescription meds than other government agencies.

But there could be a catch.

Ben Johnson from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office tells us, “Drug manufacturers may, in order to protect their profits, elect to raise VA prices, therefore raising the limit at which they can charge state programs for the drugs that we pay for, and this would reduce the potential savings under the measure.”

This has been the most expensive proposition on the ballot with the “NO on 61” group spending the most.

Most of the millions being spent to defeat Prop. 61 are coming from pharmaceutical companies.

Who’s pushing this proposition?

Among the groups, The California Nurses Association, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and AARP.

How might this prop impact the average voter?

“The average voter is not likely to see, at least a Medi-Cal user, is not going to see a change in their prescription drug spending at a personal level,” Ben Johnson from the LAO tells us.

“The effects of the measure would be on spending at the state level.  Under the measure, if it were to produce any savings, those savings would go into the general fund, some would go into some federal funds.”

Recent polling has the “Yes on Prop 61” group smiling but those against it say they plan to keep adding to the $110 million they’ve already spent. That means, look for the Campaign Blitz to continue right up until Election Day.

 

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