California Governor set to sign mandatory drug discount bill

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is poised to sign a bill sent to him Thursday that would impose mandatory prescription drug discounts for consumers in that state, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Schwarzenegger said he would sign the bill giving discounts of about 40% for brand name drugs and 60% for generics to consumers who would otherwise have to pay full retail price. In return, consumers will pay a $10 yearly enrollment fee. Discounts will be limited to households that make up to three times the federal poverty level – about $60,000 per year for a family of four. Pharmaceutical companies will have until Aug. 1, 2010, to comply voluntarily. If they fail to meet the “benchmark” discount levels, they face being taken off the preferred drug list by the state’s Medi-Cal program, which provides approximately $4 billion in Rx drugs annually to the state’s poor and elderly, The Chronicle report said.