The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Proposed CA Drug Plan Meets Preemptive Resistance from Big Pharma

by Lisa Ashkenaz Croke

Mar. 29, 2005 – A California ballot initiative designed to force drug companies to provide discount medicine to the state’s low-income population faces opposition from Governor Arnold Schawarzenegger and an $8.6 million dollar public relations counter-measure driven by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

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The governor and industrial leaders are pushing a voluntary plan slated to provide 40 percent off retail prices to about 5 million people.

But the ballot initiative, brought by nonprofit group Health Access California, which has yet to collect enough signatures to secure a spot on next year’s ballot, would provide deeper discounts to 6 to 10 million people. It would also penalize drug companies that do not comply with the plan by shutting them out of the Medi-Cal program for the state’s poorest residents, currently a $3 billion market bloc for pharmaceuticals.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Lisa Ashkenaz Croke is a contributing journalist.

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