The Drug Price Relief Act would make prescription drugs more affordable for people in Medi-Cal and other state programs by requiring that California pay no more than what's paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It would, in other words, protect state taxpayers from being ripped off.

Industry donations to crush the Drug Price Relief Act "will top $100 million by the election, I'm quite certain of it," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and a leading backer of the state measure, also known as Proposition 61. "They see this as the apocalypse for their business model."


It probably would make more sense if Medicare, with more than 55 million beneficiaries, served in that federal capacity rather than the VA. But Big Pharma, abetted by the industry's Republican cronies, has consistently blocked efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. The VA has no such constraint.

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