L.A. City Council Approves Prescription Drug Bulk Purchasing To Become First City in Nation with Such A Pool

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Prescription drug discounts under the program are estimated to be 20 to 40 percent.

Los Angeles, CA — Today the Los Angeles City Council took a significant step to initiate the nation’s first city-based prescription drug bulk purchasing program. The program, “LA Rx,” would be available for any individual regardless of age, income, or insurance level, as well as small business owners and hospitals. Prescription drug discounts under the program are estimated to be 20 to 40 percent.

“Cities are the front line in the prescription drug movement. With gridlock blocking reform in Washington and Sacramento, Los Angeles can become the nation’s first city to negotiate lower cost prescription drugs,” said Jerry Flanagan, health care advocate with the nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights (FTCR).

FTCR noted that L.A. city and L.A. county are particularly well-suited to act as a bulk prescription drug purchaser due to their large populations. L.A. City, with 3.6 million residents is the nation’s 2nd largest city. L.A. County, with 9.6 million people is larger than 41 states. “L.A. Rx” would be available for any city or county resident.

The “LA Rx” proposal was launched in March 2004 at a town hall meeting at Los Angeles City Hall organized by FTCR and L.A. City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa. Prescription drug bulk purchasing is a strategy used by the U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs and other large purchasers to control drug costs. Under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, President Bush and Congress banned bulk purchasing in the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer is the state’s leading consumer watchdog organization.

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