News that Mylan must pay $465 million to the US government for overcharging Medicaid for the EpiPen is the poster child for why Californians need Proposition 61. That's why EpiPen moms and kids spoke out this week for the ballot measure, saying it would save lives. They warned Californians against deceptive drug company advertising against Prop 61.
Drug companies, who are spending $90 million to stop Proposition 61, will continue to overcharge Californians until we pass Prop 61 to stop their price gouging.
Mylan was caught by the US Justice Department ripping off the government, but Californians need Prop 61's protections to protect families against rip offs for all lifesaving cures.
Consumer Watchdog released an analysis revealing that eight of the top ten pharmaceutical industry donors fighting Proposition 61 have increased their profits by a combined $37 billion, or 20%, over the last decade - reaching a total of $214 billion in gross profits in 2015. All the while, these companies have increased the prices of prescription drugs by as much as 1000%.
Kathleen Hallal of Irvine spoke of the hardships caused by the rising cost of the EpiPen, which has gone up 500% to $608 in the last decade.
"Because of my sons' allergies I have to buy several EpiPens a year, but even with insurance they can cost a fortune," said Kathleen Hallal of Irvine. "Children can die without this medication and it shouldn't be out of reach. I'm supporting Prop 61 because it's time someone told the drug companies that their price-gouging is costing lives."
Mylan's EpiPen costs just dollars to make but earns the company more than $1 billion a year.
Of course, drug companies don't want voters to realize Prop 61 is about stopping drug companies from raising prices on all of us. That's why drugmakers have dedicated $90 million to deceiving Californians into believing Prop 61 will alter what veterans pay for their drugs, which it cannot -- as veterans copayments and prices are guaranteed under federal law not to increase.
In one ad a veteran says: "This measure is going to cost veterans. And if this does pass, raising their prescription fees, they're not going to be able to afford it. It's either dinner on the table for the family or their medicine. Well they're going to pick their family."
In a second ad, a veteran says: "Any non-veteran that I've spoke to about Prop 61 is totally amazed that anybody would do anything that would increase the costs for veterans. Any time you increase the cost of a copay for a veteran you put them in financial dire straits."
Co-pays or prescription "fees" cannot go up under the initiative because veterans, depending on their status, pay co-pays as low as $0 and no more than $9.
Veterans for Prop 61 have responded to the false advertising with ads of their own setting the record straight.
As ballots arrive at Californian's homes this week, they should ask themselves why drug makers are spending $90 million Prop 61. It's not to help veterans, it's to continue price gouging the rest of us.
Jamie Court is president of Consumer Watchdog and works for the Consumer Watchdog Campaign, - Yes on 61, Major Funding by Yes on Prop 61, Californians for Lower Drug Prices, With Major Funding by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and California Nurses Association PAC. FPPC ID#1387641