Just some quick updates on some topics that the blog has followed in recent days:
Big Soda, Big Pharma spending big to battle ballot measures
- The Fall 2016 elections that have caused such cconsternation will be done, none too soon. But not before Big Soda and Big Pharma have poured millions of dollars to oppose ballot measures targeted at their products. The money has flowed most in trend-setting California. Big Pharma already has spent more than $126 million to oppose a drug pricing measure on the Golden State ballot. That initiative, endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, would require the state to pay no more for drugs than the federal Veterans Administration does. Proponents say this will help contain soaring prescription drug costs, while opponents say those claims are overstated and the measure might cut patients, especially veterans, off from needed medications. Meantime, Big Soda has bubbled over with $40 million or so in the Bay Area to oppose ballot measures in San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany to impose new taxes on sugary beverages. I’ve written how Philadelphia fought Big Soda and won, and why advocates say the taxes can be a key tool to slash excess consumption of harmful sugar, especially by children. Consumers can adapt and forego sodas, especially with their employers’ help, says the New York Times, which has posted an excellent read about the University of California at San Francisco medical center. There officials decided, for health reasons, to exile sugary, fizzy beverages from the school’s giant campus.