Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Kaiser Family Foundation Under Fire For Only Including Drug Makers In Prop 61 Price Control Debate; President Drew Altman Called On To Provide Balance In Tomorrow’s Panel

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Santa Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog today called out the Kaiser Family Foundation for holding a one-sided debate on drug price controls tomorrow that allows the opponents of Prop 61, the drug makers who raised $90 million against the effort to rein in California’s drug bills, a seat but leaves proponents out.

The drug-pricing panel includes Jennifer Bryant, senior vice president of policy and research for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, but no consumer advocate, nurse or Prop 61 proponent.

“We are deeply troubled that the Kaiser Family Foundation is holding a drug pricing forum tomorrow, but has invited only the drug industry opponents of Prop 61, which will create bulk purchasing for prescription drugs in the state of California,” said a letter from Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court to the Kaiser Foundation’s President Drew Altman.

“Drug companies and their executives have refused to debate the proponents of Prop 61 in any public forum,” wrote Court. “That's why it's particularly shocking that the Kaiser Family Foundation would leave out the Yes on Prop 61 side and give the drug makers the floor.”

For the letter, see:

Prop 61 would prevent California’s state-run health programs from paying more for prescription drugs than the US Department of Veterans Affairs does. The VA pays by far the lowest prescription drug prices in the nation.

“The Kaiser Family Foundation is known for presenting two sides of an issue, but tomorrow’s one-sided event threatens that reputation and the foundation’s charitable mission,” the letter said.  “This is particularly true as the Foundation is developing its news service as an independent voice on healthcare matters. It's shocking that Prop 61 proponents would be left out of this debate given that Prop 61 is the biggest news on drug pricing in the state and nation. If Prop 61 wasn't so significant for the industry, why would the drug companies be spending $90 million to stop it?”

Court, who sought a prompt response from Altman, wrote, “Were Prop 61 supporters not invited because the drug manufacturers’ representatives refused to appear if Prop 61 proponents were included? The public deserves to know. The drug companies should not be allowed to have a one-sided debate that leaves out the David in this David versus Goliath fight.

It’s inappropriate for a charity to include one side in such a debate and not the other. We ask that you invite proponents of Proposition 61 to join in tomorrow, even if the drug companies’ representative refuses to appear.”

For more, see:

Paid for by 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

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Jamie Court
Jamie Court
Consumer Watchdog's President and Chairman of the Board is an award-winning and nationally recognized consumer advocate. The author of three books, he has led dozens of campaigns to reform insurance companies, financial institutions, energy companies, political accountability and health care companies.

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