Wednesday, August 24th, 2005


  • Two TV Ads Deemed Misleading By Newspapers; $72 Million Raised by PhRMA Breaks Record
  • Prop 79 Campaign

Last week, the prescription drug industry launched the most expensive ballot campaign in the history of the nation, by starting to air two television ads across the state.

The ads attack Proposition 79, sponsored by Health Access California and other consumer, senior, and health organization, which would allow the state of California to use its purchasing power to negotiate for the best price for prescription drugs for up to ten million Californians that now pay high retail prices for these medicines. The drug company ads also promote Proposition 78, a counter-measure that provides smaller discounts to fewer people with only the voluntary participation of the drug industry. Both measures will be on the November 2005 special election ballot; if both measures get a majority, the one with the most votes will pre-empt the other.

GET MORE INFO: For more information on Proposition 79, visit the campaign website at:

JOIN THE EFFORT: Numerous consumer, senior, labor, community, and health organizations are supporting Proposition 79, including Consumers Union, CalPIRG, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Breast Cancer Action, Congress of California Seniors, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Older Women’s League, Senior Action Network, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and the League of Women Voters of California. To have your organization join the campaign, contact Meg Reeve or Jessica Rothhaar at the Health Access California Oakland Office, at 510-873-8787, or sign up on the website, at:

For supporters (or those who are in the process of endorsing the campaign), there will be a coalition meeting this FRIDAY, AUGUST 26th, to discuss the strategy, messaging, and upcoming events and actions. Contact Meg Reeve at 510-873-8787, or Anthony Wright at 916-442-2308 for more information.

THE DRUG MONEY: In the last few months, the drug industry has raised almost $72 million, for the campaign to defeat Proposition 79 in the special election this November 2005. The money raised by the drug companies is significantly more than the previous record holders, a group of wealthy Indian tribes which spent $63.2 million on a California ballot campaign on casino gambling in 1998, and auto insurance companies that spent $65.9 million in California in 1988. These two instances are the only times that state ballot campaign ever broke the $30 million mark. The money that the drug companies are going to spend on this campaign could provide full prescription drug coverage for a year to around 90,000 seniors—enough to fill the Rose Bowl.

THE ADS: The drug companies advertising, seemingly omnipresent on television, launched an aggressive television advertising campaign last week, make many misleading statements about the proposition. Three California newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, the Orange County Register, and the San Francisco Chronicle, have delved into the facts, and concluded that the ads are designed to disguise the truth and mislead California voters. The Proposition 79 campaign website has an “Ad Watch” that rebuts the claims of the advertisements, at:

THE COVERAGE: The national media has taken notice of this effort to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, including the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and other outlets. In order to see how the media is reporting on this campaign, visit the media archive on the website, at:

    Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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