California’s Prop 61 aims to cut cost of prescription drugs

The California Drug Price Relief Act, or Proposition 61, would drag down the huge cost of prescription drugs in the state, supporters like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders claim.

The ballot initiative seeks to limit the price that state agencies pay for prescription drugs. If approved, it would require the state agencies to buy drugs for its employees, retirees as well as prison inmates at the same discounted rates at which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs receive.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs historically pays far less for prescription drugs than most other government agencies.

However, opponents of the measure argue that it would make the problem worse.

Dr. Lissette Lopez, an opponent from San Francisco, said, “For nearly all Californians, Prop 61 will make the problem worse. Prop 61 only covers 12 percent of Californians like some state government employees and prisoners. The other 88 percent of Californians would see an increase in their prescription drug costs.”

But, Sanders called Prop 61 a “profound moral issue,” and is expected to speak for it on Monday, when he will address rallies in Los Angeles and Sacramento, ahead of the presidential election.

Pharmaceutical companies have pumped more than $110 million into the campaign against the measure, while supporters have raised just around $18 million for it.