Why drug makers are opposing rent control

America’s major drug manufacturers are suddenly interested in California housing battles, donating $500,000 to defeat an initiative that could expand rent control.  

Or maybe it’s personal.

Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the proponent and main funder of Proposition 10, the rent control expansion measure on the November ballot. Apartment owners and real estate companies have raised $48.5 million so far to kill it.

Now comes $500,000 from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry’s main trade association.

“The industry’s investment in the state is threatened when our employees cannot find housing and Proposition 10 could make the situation much worse,”PhRMA said in a statement. “That’s why we are opposing Proposition 10 and contributing to its defeat.”

In 2016, Weinstein pushed Proposition 61, which he claimed would regulate drug prices. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and other drug makers spent $110 million to kill that initiative, a sum that is not quickly forgotten.

“[The drug companies’ donation is] a further sign that they have more money than they know what to do with, all taken out of the wallets of low- and middle-income Californians,” said Sacramento consultant Rand Martin, working on Proposition 10’s passage.

For a run-down on Proposition 10 and the rest of the measures on the November ballot, please check out CALmatters’ election guide here.

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