LOS ANGELES, CA, Oct. 14, 2016 – Sen. Bernie Sanders told a roaring crowd of 700 in Hollywood Friday that Proposition 61 is the “most significant proposition in the country to end drug industry greed” and urged his followers to work tirelessly for Prop. 61’s passage on Nov. 8 to “send a profound message” across the nation that American voters are fed up with the drug industry’s price-gouging business practices.
The crowd frequently interrupted Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate, with cheers of approval at a Prop. 61 rally in a Hollywood parking lot. “Talk about crazy,” Sanders said, relating how one in five Americans can’t afford to fill their prescriptions because the drugs their doctors prescribe are too expensive. “The drug industry has become a major hazard to the health of the American people,” he said. “This is a profound moral issue.”
The crowd loved it when Sanders told them their support for Prop. 61 was “making the drug industry very nervous. They understand if we win here in California other states in the country will be following California’s example, very, very quickly…The entire nation is looking at California.”
Also speaking to the crowed was Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “My skin tingles when I think about the history being made in this spot right now,” said Weinstein, whose organization is the biggest supporter of Prop. 61.
Others speakers were Zenei Cortez, co-president of the California Nurses Assn., Iraq veteran Steve Dunwoody, a senior advisor to Vote Vets, and Kathleen Hallal, an Orange County mother of a boy who has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and needs to have EpiPens within reach at all times. Mylan Inc., the maker of EpiPens, a device for injecting anti-allergy medicine, in the past year has raised the price of its product to $600, a 500 percent increase from what the product sold for only a few years ago.
At the end of her remarks, Cortez led the crowd in a spirited chant: ‘Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Pharma greed has got to go!!”
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“I didn’t fight for my country only to come home and watch my family have to fight to afford the drugs they needed to stay alive,” Dunwoody told the crowd. Dunwoody has appeared in pro-Prop. 61 TV ads.
“I have seen mothers leave pharmacies crying because they could not afford to buy the EpiPens they needed to protect their children,” Hallal said in her remarks.
Proposition 61, on the November ballot, would require the state of California to negotiate with drug companies for drug prices that are no more than is paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Unlike Medicare, the DVA negotiates for drug prices on behalf of the millions of veterans it serves, and pays on average 20-24 percent less for medications than other government agencies, and up to 40 percent less than Medicare Part D. Prop. 61 empowers the state, as the healthcare buyer for millions of Californians, to negotiate the same or an even better deal for taxpayers, saving the state billions.
Paid for by Yes on Prop 61, Californians for Lower Drug Prices, With Major Funding by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and California Nurses Association PAC. FPPC ID# 1376791