California veterans, patient advocacy, business groups oppose the Misleading Rx Measure

SACRAMENTO – Today Californians Against the Misleading Rx Measure announced that a diverse coalition of organizations, including veterans, patient advocacy, civil rights, business and other groups, has come out opposed to the drug purchasing initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

“This measure is misleading and unworkable,” said Hollaine Hopkins, Executive Director of the Lupus Foundation of Southern California.  “It will lead to increased red tape and bureaucracy, and could actually increase costs for the state’s taxpayers.  Our greatest concern is that patients will get caught in the middle and have reduced access to the medicines they need. It’s for these reasons that we are actively opposing this measure.”

“This measure would hurt working families who rely on state programs for their prescription drugs as it would increase state costs, not decrease them.  And, it would interfere with patients getting access to the medicines they need,” said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.  

The measure would prohibit the state from entering into contracts to purchase prescription drugs unless the prices are the same or lower than the special discounts provided to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and our nation’s veterans.  The measure would likely invalidate existing contracts the state has negotiated with pharmaceutical manufacturers, increasing state costs for prescription drugs by tens of millions of dollars and reducing funding for Medi-Cal, the state’s largest low-income health program. The measure could result in more physician paperwork and more hassle for patients, limiting or delaying access to prescription drugs.

“We strongly oppose this initiative because it would come between doctors and their patients by creating new bureaucratic processes that would delay or even block patient access to medicines,” said John T. Kehoe, President, California Senior Advocates League.

The measure may also result in unintended negative consequences like increased health costs for veterans and their families by undermining special price considerations provided to the VA on behalf of those who serve our country.

“As a representative organization of nearly 83,000 California veterans, we are gravely concerned that this initiative will increase prescription costs for the men and women in California and across the nation that have bravely served our country in uniform,” said Larry Van Kuran, Commander, The American Legion – Department of California.

This misleading measure only applies to a limited number of state drug purchasing programs, and it would negatively impact those programs. In fact, this initiative would not apply to health care coverage for more than 85 percent of Californians, including patients served by Covered California, most people in the Medi-Cal program and people who have private health care insurance.  And for the few programs it does cover, it could actually increase the cost of prescription drugs, limit patient access to medicines, and increase taxpayer costs.

“CMTA supports the research and innovation done in California to improve health outcomes and lower costs for care. The initiative will only hamper the ability to find new cures and could directly increase state healthcare costs by limiting drug rebates,” said Dorothy Rothrock, President, California Manufacturers & Technology Association.

The campaign noted that it expects the coalition to grow as more groups learn about the measure and its flaws.

Californians Against the Misleading Rx Measure:

  • American GI Forum of California
  • American Legion, Department of California
  • AMVETS, Department of California
  • Association of the United States Army, Northern California
  • Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC)
  • Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
  • California Business Roundtable
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Manufacturers & Technology Association
  • California NAACP
  • California Senior Advocates League
  • Chamber of Commerce Alliance of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
  • Community Health Action Network
  • Embracing Latina Leadership Alliances (ELLAS)
  • Fresno Chamber of Commerce
  • Fleet Reserve Association, West Coast Region
  • International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis
  • Jewish War Veterans of America, Department of California
  • Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Los Angeles Wellness Station
  • Lupus Foundation of Southern California
  • Military Officers Association of America, California Council of Chapters
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of California
  • ONEgeneration
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America, Bay Area & Western Chapter
  • Plaza Community Services (clinic)
  • Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce
  • Reserve Officer Association, Department of the Golden West
  • Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Scottish American Military Society
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation
  • Valley Industry & Commerce Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of California
  • Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council