“While Congress has failed to stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the people of California can by supporting this ballot initiative.”
Democratic Presidential Candidate
May 10, 2016
SACRAMENTO, CA (May 10, 2016) Bernie Sanders today became the first presidential candidate of either major party to endorse the California Drug Price Relief Act of 2016, a first-in-the-nation ballot measure that empowers the state, as the healthcare buyer for millions of Californians, to negotiate the same or an even better deal on drug purchases for taxpayers as the Department of Veterans Affairs, saving the state billions of dollars. The announcement came in a statement posted on the Democratic candidate’s website as he brought his campaign to Northern California ahead of the state’s June 7th primary.
The endorsement, posted earlier today on the candidate’s campaign website included the following statement by Sanders: “While Congress has failed to stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, the people of California can by supporting this ballot initiative,” the Vermont senator said.
The endorsement was announced as California legislators prepare to hold a joint Senate and Assembly Health committee hearing on the November ballot measure this afternoon, at 1:30 pm PT at the State Capitol in Sacramento (Room 4202). Proponents of the ballot measure will be available for media interviews before and after the hearing to speak on both Sanders’ endorsement and the California Drug Price Relief Act.
The Drug Price Relief Act 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 VA negotiates for drug prices on behalf of the nearly 22 million 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. The Drug Price Relief Act 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.
In response, the drug industry has launched a campaign of threats, stating that if the measure passes it will take retribution by seeking to raise drug prices on veterans and shut off California’s access to certain prescription drugs. The statutorily required joint legislative hearing on the measure will be the first public opportunity for advocates of the measure to confront the drug industry on its exorbitantly high drug prices and its campaign of threats against veterans and California taxpayers.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Deborah Burger, California Nurses Association Co-President, and David Fitzpatrick, Supply Chain Manager for the Pharmacy Division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, will be available for media interviews outside of Room 4202 immediately before and after their testimony.