Wall Street Taking Notice of California Initiative To Lower Drug Prices; Drugmakers Pour $22 Million More Into Campaign To Defeat It

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Santa Monica, CA — Drug companies poured $22 million more into their campaign to stop drug pricing reform Proposition 61 after Wall Street began to query the companies about losing the election.

For the first time, Proposition 61 was mentioned in an earnings call by a major drug company on October 18th. On the call, Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin stated that the initiative looks like it may pass, and asked what the industry’s response would be. The day after the call, $22 million in new drug company money was contributed to the No campaign.

“Proposition 61, and as you know, I think that polls are showing that that actually might pass in the state of California. I'm just curious to know what you think the industry's response will be to that,” Rubin asked.

Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President Joaquin Duato responded to the question by acknowledging that drug price gouging is an issue that has to be solved, “Pharmaceuticals represent 14% of total expenditures, and we understand that we need to work with different stakeholders in order to try to manage our healthcare costs.”

The statement is one of the first from the pharmaceutical industry acknowledging the massive support among California voters for the initiative. The drug companies have now put in a total $109 million against Prop 61, more money than has been spent by a single side in a ballot initiative fight in California history.

In the investor call, the company went on to claim that veteran groups, seniors and unions are on their side opposing the initiative. Many of the groups have received payments for their work.

“The drug companies have poured another $22 million into their ad campaign against Prop 61 in hopes of keeping their deception going, but voters clearly aren’t buying it. The strategy of running and hiding is not working for the drug companies. It’s about time they come forward and join in an honest debate about the initiative,” said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog.

The Yes On 61 coalition includes Senator Bernie Sanders, the California Nurses Association, AARP, Vote Vets and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Learn more at

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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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