The drug wars go on here in California: consumer advocates continuing to fight the pharmaceutical industry–the legal one–for safer drugs and better prices.
SB438(Calderon) this year was similar to last year’s SB1096(Calderon), a measure widely opposed by consumer groups. SB1096 allowed pharmacists to sell prescribing information to drug companies so drug companies could do even more targeted marketing to consumers. SB438 is slightly better in terms of privacy protections but still has many of the same flaws. Thankfully, it will not proceed this year.
Another bill, SB341(DeSaulnier) would expand the comparative effectiveness efforts at the federal level to California by adding counter-detailing, that is education of physicians and consumers about comparative effectiveness of drugs by impartial sources rather than leaving doctors and patients to rely on drug company marketing. What is that purple pill anyway? This bill failed in Senate Health with Republicans opposed and Democrats Gil Cedillo and Gloria NegreteMcLeod present but not voting. It has been amended to delete the fee on drug companies and is scheduled for hearing again on this Wednesday, 4/29, in Senate Health. We will see if the outcome is any different.