The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America won a victory in last week's elections with the defeat of California Proposition 79, which would have imposed price controls on manufacturers participating in the state's Medi-Cal program and allowed individuals to sue companies for profiteering.
A rival ballot measure, the PhRMA-sponsored Proposition 78, was also voted down, 58%–41%.
PhRMA spent $72 million on an advertising, PR and direct-mail blitz to defeat Proposition 79, which lost 61%–38%. Backed by unions and consumer activists, the measure would have required drug companies to offer steep discounts to the uninsured in order to participate in Medi-Cal. By contrast, Proposition 78 would have encouraged companies to offer discounts voluntarily. PhRMA's outlay on the campaign included $50 million in media spend and $13 million on glossy mailers, according to California press.