Newspapers Statewide Oppose Proposition 61

As the General Election quickly approaches, newspapers statewide have editorialized against California Chamber of Commerce-opposed Proposition 61.

Proposition 61 prohibits the state from buying any prescription drug from a drug manufacturer at prices over the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA).

CalChamber Reasons for Position

CalChamber opposes this measure because it will increase what most Californians must pay for health care premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs by shifting the cost of prescription drugs from government purchasers to private payers, including employers. The initiative ignores why the USDVA is able to negotiate lower drug prices and instead uses the discounts to establish an artificial market cap for one group of purchasers. The approach will simply shift costs to other payers in the system.

The following are excerpts from some of the newspaper editorials opposing Proposition 61.

  • The Bakersfield Californian: 61 is the wrong way to fight Big Pharma; vote no “Californians could and likely would suffer if Prop. 61 passes.” August 27, 2016
  • East Bay Times: Vote no on prescription drug measure “Prop 61 is loaded with unknowns, but here’s one sure thing: If it passes, Big Pharma will do everything it can to keep it from working as promised. Otherwise, every state will adopt a similar law.” October 26, 2016
  • Los Angeles Times: Proposition 61 is the wrong solution to the problem of high drug prices “As much as Proposition 61’s sponsors rail about drugmakers’ greed, however, they assume that the very same avaricious, monopolistic companies will do nothing in response to the squeeze on the industry’s profits if the measure passes.” October 4, 2016
  • The Press Enterprise (Riverside): No on Proposition 61 “It might seem like a good idea to force drug prices down by law, but price controls inevitably lead to shortages, cost-shifting and reduced investment and innovation.” October 7, 2016
  • The Sacramento Bee: Drug pricing is too complex to fix with Prop. 61 “The initiative comes with too many uncertainties and not enough guarantees that things won’t get worse. We’re loath to admit the industry is right when it says this is an all-too-simplistic solution to a complicated issue.” September 17, 2016
  • The San Diego Union Tribune: No on Prop. 61: Far too many prescription drug uncertainties “it’s unsurprising that a Legislative Analyst’s Office review concludes there’s no reason to be confident the measure would actually save the state a dime.” October 7, 2016
  • San Francisco Chronicle: No on Proposition 61 “This measure contains too much risk, with too many lives dependent on access to life-sustaining drugs. We cannot support its passage.” September 22, 2016
  • The Mercury News: Vote no on prescription drug measure “But nobody can say definitively how this proposition would play out, or how it would affect the availability of some life-saving drugs. Don’t take a chance.” September 28, 2016
  • Santa Rosa Press Democrat: No on Prop 61: False promise on drug prices “There’s nothing to prevent drug makers from raising their prices, thereby increasing what they charge the Department of Veterans Affairs and, in turn, what state agencies could legally pay under the initiative.” September 28, 2016
  • Ventura County Star: Vote no on Proposition 61 “Drug costs are a complex issue that is not easily understood by experts and should not be determined at the ballot box.” October 10, 2016

More Information

For more information on Proposition 61, visit

To view all CalChamber positions on the General Election ballot measures, visit

The California Chamber of Commerce is the largest, broad-based business advocate to government in California, working at the state and federal levels to influence government actions affecting all California business. As a not-for-profit, we leverage our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations to provide affordable and easy-to-use compliance products and services.