Supporters of a California ballot measure, which is designed to lower drug prices, lost a state court bid on Monday to alter the wording of a key analysis that may affect the outcome of the closely watched battle. And the decision comes amid intensifying jockeying over a measure that is seen as a litmus test for public discontent over prescription drug costs.
At issue is a report by a California state office that assessed the California Drug Price Relief Act, which would require the state Medicaid program and other state programs to pay no more for medicines than the prices negotiated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, the VA gets a 24 percent discount off average manufacturer prices. The vote is scheduled for Nov. 8.
The measure is extremely controversial. The initiative, which was launched by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an activist group that operates clinics and pharmacies in various states, reflects national uproar over the cost of prescription medicines. And the ballot measure is one of several moves at the state level to force drug makers to justify or change their pricing, although an identical measure has so far only been proposed in one other state, Ohio.