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Advocates debate Prop. 61, which seeks to regulate CA drug prices

Advocates debated Proposition 61 — a California state ballot measure that aims to standardize drug prices — at a panel last week at University of California Berkeley, reports The Daily Californian.  If passed, Proposition 61 would tie prescription drug prices paid by certain state agencies to the discounted price that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays. While Dan Johnston, research director for the California Nurses Association, argued that Proposition 61 addresses a pressing need for bold action to reduce drug prices, Kathy Fairbanks, a spokesperson for the “No On Prop 61” campaign said passing the measure could have unintended consequences for veterans and could result in higher drug prices for California or reduce access to medicine. The language of the initiative would restrict state agencies from entering into purchasing contracts with drug manufacturers where the price is higher than the price the VA pays. The VA gets a 24 percent discount on drugs, per a federal mandate.