Argument in Favor of Proposition 78
Proposition 78 offers Californians struggling with high prescription drug costs real help, right now. Prop. 78 is a proven program that can take effect immediately, and will deliver critically needed prescription drug discounts to millions of seniors and low income, uninsured Californians.
Known as Cal Rx, Proposition 78 offers Californians the best prescription drug discount program in the country. It is an improved version of a successful program already operating in Ohio that is delivering discounts averaging 31%, saving consumers $15.31 on every covered prescription. Every major prescription drug manufacturer participates in the Ohio program.
“This program is a lifesaver. My family saves $150 a month on prescription drugs for my husband’s heart condition. For us, it’s a miracle.”
Robin Ford, Canton, Ohio
Proposition 78 is even better than the Ohio program. The California Department of Health Services concludes that the Cal Rx program enacted by Proposition 78 will result in discounts of over 40% to millions of eligible Californians. State officials say that Cal Rx prices will compare favorably to prices in Canada.
Here’s how Proposition 78 works:
- The program covers seniors and the uninsured with family incomes up to $58,000 annually.
- Manufacturers will provide prescription drugs to the Cal Rx program at the lowest commercial price they sell to anyone in California and pharmacists will provide additional discounts. According to state officials, the average discount will be at least 40% off regular retail prices.
- Prop. 78 also makes it easier for people to get access to new and existing free drug programs, meaning even more savings for consumers.
- Enrollment is simple. People can sign up at their local
- Prop. 78 does not require a big government bureaucracy to implement. The discounts go right to the patient in their community.
- ALL drugs are eligible for discounts under Proposition 78, not just those on a government determined list.
“Proposition 78 offers real hope to millions of Californians who currently don’t have access to affordable prescription medications. We want all Californians in need to have access to prescription medications and Proposition 78 will do that.”
Rick Roberts, HIV/AIDS Patient and Activist
Proposition 78 enjoys bipartisan support. It is supported by groups representing seniors, patients, taxpayers, and small businesses across the state. A Los Angeles Times news report found Prop. 78, “would offer one of the most extensive discounts in the country.”
Proposition 78 will bring real help, right now. It can go into effect immediately and begin delivering deep discounts on prescription drugs, helping millions of seniors and low income, uninsured Californians.
There are two prescription drug discount proposals on the ballot, but only Proposition 78 will work. Unlike the other proposal, Prop. 78 doesn’t require federal approval, provides discounts on a wider range of drugs, doesn’t depend on a big government bureaucracy to be implemented, and won’t result in costly litigation by trial lawyers.
Please, join seniors, taxpayers, consumers, patient advocates, health care professionals, and small businesses, and VOTE YES on Proposition 78.
KRISTINE YAHN, RN, Executive Director
Californians for Patient Care
CAROLYN PETERSON, RN, MS, AOCN
Chief Operating Officer
DORIS LUNA, RN, Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse
UC Davis Medical Center
Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Proposition 78
Why are Californians struggling with high drug prices? Because the drug companies funding Prop. 78 charge high prices.
If drug companies want to offer discounts voluntarily, they can do it today, without an initiative, without a new program.
- Prop. 78 provides smaller discounts to fewer people and does not allow the state to enforce the discounts. This approach already failed in California.
- Prop. 79 builds on existing efforts that have saved
taxpayers billions. It gives more middle and low income
Californians bigger discounts that can be enforced.
PROP. 78 USES AN APPROACH THAT HAS FAILED IN CALIFORNIA AND ELSEWHERE
In 2001, California created the Golden Bear State Pharmacy which relied on drug companies to voluntarily lower their prices. The state shut it down because very few drug companies agreed to participate.
Prop. 78 uses the same failed approach.
PROP. 78: SMALLER DISCOUNTS, FEWER PEOPLE, NO ENFORCEMENT
Drug companies face no penalty under Prop. 78 if they fail to provide discounts and the industry can shut down Prop. 78 at any time by failing to participate. Prop. 78 does not require any, much less all, drugs to be discounted, and it offers smaller discounts to fewer people.
DON’T BE FOOLED: If Prop. 78 gets more votes than Prop. 79, drug companies win and Californians lose.
That’s why drug companies contributed more than $50 million to pass Prop. 78 and defeat Prop. 79. That’s why consumers, seniors, unions, nurses, and doctors say VOTE NO on 78 and YES on 79.
BARBARA A. BRENNER, Executive Director
Breast Cancer Action
RAMÓN CASTELLBLANCH, Policy Advisor
Senior Action Network
KATHY J. SACKMAN, RN, President
United Nurses Association of California
Argument Against Proposition 78
THE DRUG LOBBY IS SPENDING HISTORIC AMOUNTS TO BLOCK THE REAL SOLUTION FOR FAIR DRUG PRICES
Prop. 78 is a smokescreen designed and bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars from the prescription drug lobby to block Prop. 79, a real discount solution put forward by consumer, health, and senior groups. Under their cynical strategy, if both measures get a majority, the one with more votes becomes law.
Newspapers report that just one contribution from GlaxoSmithKline for $8.5 million could be “the largest ever from a corporation to a California campaign.” Drug companies donated $50 million to Prop. 78 by mid-July, on track to run what could be the most expensive initiative campaign in California history.
Jan Faiks, VP with PhRMA, the industry’s lobbying arm, told the Los Angeles Times “the industry would spend ‘whatever it takes’ to defeat [Prop. 79].”
PROP. 78 RELIES ON MANUFACTURERS TO VOLUNTEER DISCOUNTS: A PLAN PROVEN TO FAIL
Prop. 78 relies on drug manufacturers to voluntarily lower their prices and does not allow the state of California to enforce the program.
California tried this voluntary approach in 2001. The Golden Bear State Pharmacy was designed to offer seniors voluntary discounts on prescription medications. More than 500 drug manufacturers were invited to participate, yet only 14 agreed. Unable to implement it successfully, Governor Schwarzenegger closed the program.
According to news reports, the drug companies said they didn’t participate in Golden Bear because if they did, they would have to give the federal government the same rebates they were giving California seniors. Have they really changed their minds four years later? Can we trust the manufacturers to voluntarily lower their prices now? No.
PROP. 78’S DISCOUNTS CAN END AT ANY TIME
The drug lobby buried a provision in Prop. 78 that allows them to effectively close their discount program when too few manufacturers voluntarily lower their prices.
As stated in their initiative, Prop. 78 could end at any time if there are too few participating manufacturers, or insufficient discounts, or too few participating consumers.
Make no mistake, this provision was included by the drug companies so they can end the program at any time and protect their profit margins.
FEWER PEOPLE ARE ELIGIBLE, DISCOUNTS ARE LESS
Half as many Californians are eligible for discounts under Prop. 78 as under Prop. 79. Prop. 78 provides no discounts to many uninsured Californians, those with catastrophic medical bills, and the chronically ill such as cancer and diabetes patients with inadequate drug coverage.
The discounts offered by Prop. 78 are based on the “lowest commercial price” set by the drug companies. These discounts could be anywhere from 15 to 40 percent—significantly less than Prop. 79’s discounts.
VOTE NO on PROP. 78, a smokescreen by the pharmaceutical industry to block the real solution to high prices.
Instead, VOTE YES on PROP. 79 for fair prescription drug prices.
NANCY J. BRASMER, President
California Alliance for Retired Americans
RICHARD HOLOBER, Executive Director
Consumer Federation of California
JACQUELINE JACOBBERGER, President
League of Women Voters of California
Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition 78
Proposition 78 is based on a successful Ohio program that delivers big discounts to consumers. Every major drug manufacturer participates in Ohio. Proposition 78 is an improved version of Ohio’s program and will produce even larger discounts.
Even opponents admit that Proposition 78 could result in 40% discounts for consumers. Because it is adapted from a program already in operation, Proposition 78 won’t be subject to lengthy court challenges. Unlike Prop. 79, Proposition 78 doesn’t need federal government approval. Prop. 78 can take effect immediately, helping millions of seniors and low income, uninsured Californians get relief from high prescription drug costs.
The comparison to the Golden Bear program is misleading. That program was flawed, couldn’t be implemented under federal rules to give Californians the largest discounts possible, and was abandoned by the state. Proposition 78 was written to FIX that problem.
This year, the Schwarzenegger administration, working with leading Democrats, came together in the Legislature to support the Cal Rx program contained in Proposition 78. Had some legislators not succumbed to pressure from special interest groups and defeated Cal Rx in the Legislature, Californians would already be getting drug discounts.
Opponents falsely claim Proposition 78 can be abolished by drug companies. ONLY THE STATE can end the program if, for example, federal law changes and a new program becomes available that is better for Californians.
Proposition 78 is supported by dozens of groups representing seniors, taxpayers, small businesses, consumers, health care advocates, and patient groups. It offers millions of Californians real help, right now on prescription drug prices. Vote YES on Proposition 78.
TOM MURPHY, Chair
California Arthritis Foundation Council
RUSTY HAMMER, President
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
JAMES S. GRISOLIA, M.D., Senior Vice President
Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County