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Drug Price Initiative Proponents Declare Signature Success

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Proponents of a California initiative that would limit prescription drug prices say they will submit enough petition signatures Monday to qualify for the ballot.

The group behind the initiative, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, reports it has 550,000 signatures--nearly 200,000 more than the required number, which would provide a buffer for signatures declared invalid.

The measure would prohibit California state agencies from paying more for any drug than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is known for achieving low costs.

A-H-F president Michael Weinstein says California can negotiate those same prices.

"I don’t believe anybody has more buying power than California," says Weinstein. "It’s just that the VA has been the most aggressive and successful in negotiating pricing."

The group is also collecting signatures for a similar initiative in Ohio.

Opponents have said the measure will have broad, unintended consequences. The pharmaceutical industry has already contributed $10 million into a campaign fund against it.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said it could not calculate the initiative’s fiscal impact within the required 50 days.

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