U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Hosts LA Rally for Lower Drug Price Initiative, Yes on Prop 61

Former Presidential Contender and California Drug Price Initiative Endorser Speaks Out Against Big Pharma at Los Angeles rally on October 14th

Wrapping up the first week of early voting, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke powerfully Friday afternoon on behalf of the Yes on Prop 61 campaign at a rally in Hollywood.  Sen. Sanders addressed a crowd of several hundred people at the American Federation of Musicians Hall as part of his multi-stop tour through the state of California, his first since the primary election campaign. 

Sanders appeared alongside Proposition 61 supporters including the California Nurses Association, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, VoteVets and the colloquially referred to “Mylan Moms,” to speak out against Big Pharma price-gouging and lies regarding the measure.

“Americans die or get sick because they can’t afford the medicine they need. Drug companies receive huge profits, and the CEOs of those companies get outrageous compensation packages,” said Sen. Sanders. “Now, why does this happen? It happens because the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most powerful forces in Washington, DC.  Since 1988, they have spent $3 billion in lobbying and have made hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions. They currently have 1,400 paid lobbyists in Washington, DC right now, working day and night to make sure that we paid outrageously high prices for the medicine that we need.”

“They are getting nervous. And you are making them nervous. The reason they are nervous is that they understand if we win here in California, other states in the country will be following very, very quickly.”

“My understanding is the pharmaceutical industry is prepared to spend up to $100 million to defeat Proposition 61.  They can spend all the money that they want, but the people understand that they are a bunch of crooks, and we’re gonna beat ’em!” Sanders declared to boisterous applause.

The California Drug Price Relief Act is the only initiative on the November ballot in all 50 states to address the issue of drug company price-gouging.

The rally follows the first week of ballots arriving at the homes of California voters. TV ads featuring Sen. Sanders supporting Prop. 61 are also currently airing statewide. 

Sanders is also expected to make a stop in the Bay Area on Saturday to promote Prop. 61. 

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Background

Prop 61 is a simple measure that allows California to leverage its massive negotiating power to achieve lower drug prices for the most vulnerable Californians. Drug companies are scared of Proposition 61 because they know it will put us on the road to lower drug prices! 

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 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 a better deal for taxpayers, saving the state billions.