The Power of Drug Money
Pharmaceutical firms nationwide have secretly dished out hundreds of thousands of dollars to political leaders and civil rights groups that have endorsed the industry’s controversial initiative in the November 8 California election (LA Times article). The measure, called Proposition 78, would establish a discount prescription drug program for certain low- and moderate-income Californians. It would also avert state caps on the price of prescription drugs.
The $76 million that drug manufacturers have spent so far, has bought support from both conservative and liberal groups and politicians. Two interesting cases come to mind.
The first is Sacramento political consultant Alice Huffman, whose public relations firm (A.C. Public Affairs) has so far received $720,000 from the drug industry. Huffman is also president of the California State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and, not surprisingly, the NAACP endorses Proposition 78.
Another suspicious example is California Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, the Compton Democrat who helped create a group called Voter Education and Registration Action. Well, that group has received $100,000 of pharmaceutical dough and therefore endorses the initiative.
Others who have received thousands of dollars from drug companies to endorse the initiative include the Reverend Lou Sheldon of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition ($30,000) and Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association ($20,000).
For more information on the initiative and how much it may end up costing California residents, click on to California Conservative, a group that says it is all about conservatism and speaks out for the silent majority. By the way, California Conservative endorses Proposition 78.