The California Drug Price Relief Act wants to place price controls on prescription medications. They’ve got a lot of momentum, including a public sentiment which jaded by the recent actions of “pharma bro,” Martin Shkreli, who commonly buys patents on old pharmaceutical medications and then severely raises the price on them. A “yes” vote would regulate drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay the same prices as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. Supporters also argue that this ballot, if approved, will increase transparency for pharmaceutical companies. The campaign is backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit group who, after being tormented by Shkreli’s “business model,” felt the need for change was ripe.
Their ballot for change is on the November ballot. They’ve worked hard to fundraise and encourage widespread California support. However, it seems the group’s ballot is being targeted by out-of-state corporations who want to see it fail: Big Pharmaceuticals.
“Twenty-seven out-of-state pharmaceutical companies have raised more campaign dollars (against the prescription drug measure) than all other state ballot measures have raised to date, combined,” Californians for Lower Drug Prices stated back in late March.
A ballot being attacked by out of state corporations who fear a widespread, national change, isn’t incredibly rare, but it still remains uniquely repulsive. Californians Against The Misleading Rx Measure is a ballot created by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturer’s Association of America. They are based in Washington. D.C. Johnson & Johnson of New Jersey and Pfizer, Inc. donated $5.7 million alone to the campaign helping a total of $53 million by mid-march. 27 of the 30 companies aren’t even Californian. Last year, Big Pharma spent $3.2 Billion to influence legislation. That’s the most by any sector.
Pharma’s aggressive funding to knock down the ballot for prescription price regulation, using out-of-state corporations, is disturbing and vile. Pharma’s attempts to protect extreme profits once again takes center stage. Rather than focusing efforts on providing real health care solutions, the billion dollar giants would assume construct models which fleece the American public.
It should be noted; I don’t enjoy the idea of price regulations. I feel it goes against capitalism. But when it comes to pharmaceuticals, a sector which has abused the free market and our health care for decades, I am all for it. But mostly, I want everyone to see how unscrupulous pharma’s activities so often are. In this case, they are funding a ballot that could eventually lead to drug supply lines for deadly illnesses only being served up to the most elite. In contrast, many of pharma’s addictive drugs, such as opioids and SSRI medications remain within the grasp of the public. I don’t think that’s anything to do with production costs.
When Pharma says, “it’s AIDS, and Cancer drugs cost more due to research,” keep in mind that most of their research are performed at public universities. Yes, our tax dollars often pay for the labs and many fo the researchers who study the medications. Irony at its finest.