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Could California Lead The Way On Pharmacy Price Negotiations?46:52
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A California ballot question aims to force Big Pharma to bring down prices, and most California voters support it.  Could the rest of the nation follow?

In this Friday, July 8, 2016, photo, pharmacist Clint Hopkins, owner of Pucci's Pharmacy, displays a package of EpiPens, an epinephrine autoinjector for the treatment of allergic reactions, in Sacramento, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
In this Friday, July 8, 2016, photo, pharmacist Clint Hopkins, owner of Pucci's Pharmacy, displays a package of EpiPens, an epinephrine autoinjector for the treatment of allergic reactions, in Sacramento, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

From $600 EpiPens to thousand-dollar Hepatitis C pills, Americans have been astonished at the nerve of American pharmaceutical companies in jacking prices of prescription drugs to nosebleed heights. Now, a ballot initiative in California headed for a vote in November aims to rein drug prices in. If it takes there, it could take all over. Big Pharma warns it would be a pricing disaster for the industry. They’re putting a reported $100 million against it. This hour On Point, California weighs a big move on drug prices. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Christopher Cadelago, political reporter at the Sacremento Bee. (@ccadelago)

Dr. Joel Zinberg, lawyer and physician. Practicing surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, professor of health policy and management and pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Former Massachusetts commissioner of public health  and former director of public health and health officer for Los Angeles County.

From Tom’s Reading List

Sacremento Bee: Drug pricing is too complex to fix with Prop. 61 -- "It would serve Big Pharma right if Californians passed Proposition 61, capping drug prices by prohibiting state agencies from paying any more for prescription medication than the rock-bottom prices paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The industry certainly has given voters every reason to do it – from jacking up the cost for lifesaving EpiPens by a whopping 500 percent to making the most effective treatments for hepatitis C so expensive that they’re out reach for millions of Americans."

U.S. News & World Report: The False Drug Pricing Problem -- "Where would you want to live if you had cancer? If you worried about high drug prices, you would avoid the U.S. But a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests that cancer drugs are actually more affordable here than in other countries where prices are lower."

POLITICO: New poll shows strong support for landmark drug pricing ballot measure — "A landmark ballot measure to control prescription drug pricing, already on the verge of becoming one of the most expensive ballot measures in state history, enjoys the support of an unusually wide swath of voters across the political spectrum, according to a new poll released in August."

This program aired on September 29, 2016.

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