Big Pharma Dumps in Additional $22 Million to Stop Prop 61

Sacramento – According to recent filings with the Secretary of State’s office, the drug companies have dumped an additional $22 million into their attempt to mislead voters into voting against Proposition 61, the California Drug Price Relief Act. The opposition, solely funded by Big Pharma itself, now has accumulated an eye-popping war chest of $109 million, making it the single most expensive ballot side in California history. (The campaign on behalf of Propositions 94-97 in 2008 spent a combined $108.3 million, but that covered four different measures.)

“The drug companies are clearly panicked because their campaign of lies and distortions against Prop. 61 up to this point isn’t working, and they are having trouble moving voters to oppose the measure,” said Garry South, lead strategist for the Yes on Prop. 61 campaign. “Now, their calls with Wall Street investors and stockholders have turned to questions about what happens to stock prices if 61 passes, so they’ve doubled down to try to strangle the measure in order to keep their sky-high profits and stock prices up.”

“Big Pharma’s ridiculous boilerplate arguments against 61 are that ‘it won’t work,’ and that it may actually lead to higher drug prices,” South said. “But if there was ever any question as to how much the drug industry really fears this measure and its impact, their massive contributions to try beat it are the best testimony. They are terrified because they know the public supports Prop 61, hates the drug companies and a reckoning is near.”

Prop. 61 is the only vehicle available in this election year for Californians to address the high cost of life-saving drugs, and is the only drug-pricing measure on the ballot in any of the 50 states. As such, it is garnering significant national attention, especially after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ visit to California last week to campaign for 61.

Proposition 61 would require the state of California to negotiate with drug companies for drug prices that are no more than is paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).  Unlike Medicare, the DVA negotiates for drug prices on behalf of the millions of veterans it serves, and pays on average 20-24 percent less for medications than other government agencies, and up to 40 percent less than Medicare Part D.  Prop. 61 empowers the state, as the healthcare buyer for millions of Californians, to negotiate the same or an even better deal for taxpayers, saving the state billions.

Prop. 61 has been endorsed by AARP, the California Nurses Association, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his new organization Our Revolution, Consumer Watchdog, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, civil rights and labor activist Dolores Huerta, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Urban League, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Campaign for a Healthy California, Progressive Democrats of America, Social Security Works and VoteVets Action Fund. In addition, Prop. 61 is supported by county Democratic parties in Alameda, Contra Costa, Madera, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Ventura and Yolo counties, numerous California Democratic Party (CDP) officials, including former longtime California Democratic Party Chair Art Torres, CDP Secretary Daraka Larimore-Hall and CDP Controller Hilary Crosby.  A full list of endorsements can be found at