California's Proposition 61 Threatens Drug Company Monopoly Pricing

Posted Oct. 26, 2016

MP3 Interview with Roger Salazar, spokesperson for California's "Yes on 61" campaign, conducted by Scott Harris


California, which has a long tradition of empowering voters to decide critical public policy issues, will have 17 statewide referenda on the ballot this November. Among those ballot measures are proposals to repeal the state’s death penalty, legalize marijuana for recreational use, and requiring the use of condoms during the filming of pornographic films. However, Proposition 61, one of the referendum questions before voters has attracted the most money contributed by donors to defeat the measure.

Proposition 61 would regulate drug prices by requiring state agencies to pay the same prices for prescription drugs that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. The VA negotiates drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, paying on average 25 percent less for drugs than other government agencies. Supporters of the measure say that if approved, the new regulation could save California taxpayers an estimated $5.7 billion over 10 years. Opponents warn that if Proposition 61 is implemented, it would only assist the state’s poor, increase prices for veterans and reduce access to some medicines.

Thus far, pharmaceutical companies have contributed most of the $108 million to defeat Proposition 61. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, one of the initiators of the ballot question, has spent about $14 million to support it. Between The Line’s Scott Harris spoke with Roger Salazar, a spokesperson for the "Yes on 61" campaign, who explains the purpose and benefit of Proposition 61 for California's citizens, and its power as an example for other states around the country and threat to drug company monopoly pricing.

For more information, visit Yes on Proposition 61 at

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