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Sep 30, 2004 - 01:00 AM
CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan, 310-392-0522 x319 - cell: 415-497-1710
Big "A" Catching Up To Dubya In Drug Money;
No Other Pol Raising As Much As ArnoldPrior to Governor Schwarzenegger's expected veto of four proposals providing for prescription drug bulk purchasing and importation from Canada, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) revealed that no other U.S. governor or federal official appears to have raised more money than Governor Schwarzenegger from the pharmaceutical industry over the last year other than President Bush.
In August, FTCR chartered a train -- dubbed the Rx Express -- to take 16 seniors and other California patients along with 4 others from Oregon and Washington to Canada to buy lower cost prescription drugs. The Rx Express riders saved 59.8% off the prescription drug prices they pay in the U.S. for a total annual savings of $2000 each. From October 11th through October 14th, the Rx Express will pick-up riders throughout Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York on its way to Toronto, Canada. For more information visit: www.RxExpressCanada.org
"1 out of 4 seniors can't afford their prescription drugs unlike Governor Schwarzenegger who will never have to choose between paying for medications and buying food," said 78 year-old Rx Express rider, Carole Jaquez of Apple Valley California.
Prescription drugs are available in Canada, England, Ireland and other countries at 30-60% less than in the United States because those countries negotiate bulk discounts on behalf of all patients -- a move that drug companies have blocked in the U.S.
According to an analysis by FTCR, Governor Schwarzenegger has received over $337,200 in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies in about 1 year. Under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry, President Bush -- who has received $870,000 from pharmaceutical companies since the 2000 election -- also opposed bulk purchasing and importation in the 2003 Medicare prescription drug law which banned the Medicare program from negotiating discounts with pharmaceutical companies and continued a ban on drug importation. Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry has raised $349,312 from drug companies since 2000. While Senator Kerry has supported changes to the Medicare drug law to allow bulk discounting, neither presidential candidate has supported a program that would allow any American to participate regardless of age.
"If he vetoes these bills, Schwarzenegger will show that he is the Governor of the Pfizers, by the Genentechs, for the GlaxoSmithKlines," said Jerry Flanagan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.
Pharmaceutical Company Contributions to Governor Schwarzenegger:
AMGEN -- $21,200.00
BAXTER -- $21,200.00
GLAXOSMITHKLINE -- $21,200.00
NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CORP. -- $21,220
GENENTECH -- $41,200.00
PFIZER, INC. -- $100,000.00
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB -- $25,000.00
ROBERT W. JOHNSON -- $25,000.00
GILEAD SCIENCES, INC. -- $10,000.00
ALLERGAN, INC. IRVINE -- $30,000.00
JOHNSON & JOHNSON SERVICES, INC. -- $21,200.00
A new survey -- available at www.ResultsForAmerica.org -- found that among Americans with health care insurance who purchase prescription drugs:
* One-third (34%) are either already purchasing or planning to purchase lower costs prescriptions from pharmacies in Canada or other nations.
* Nearly two in ten (18%) say they either skip medications or reduce dosages to "stretch" their medication due to high costs. This percentage equates to over 20 million Americans.
* Eight of ten (83%) say that the U.S. should follow the lead of other nations and negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drugs.
The Four proposals awaiting Governor Schwarzenegger's decision include direct bulk purchasing of prescriptions (AB 1958) and drug importation from Canada (SB 1349, SB 1144, AB 1957).
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For more information, visit us on the web at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org
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