THE LEGISLATUREWho knew the California Board of Pharmacy could so bedeviling? In the span of a few days both local legislators have separately attacked the body for being cozy with big business lobbyists.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi criticized the state-appointed board for sponsoring a bill making it easier for large pharmacies to administer flu shots to adults. Allowing for greater access to flu shots appear acceptable, but Hayashi and members of the California Association of Registered Nurses told the paper, they fear the legislation could drown out independent pharmacies who cannot afford entering into expensive contracts with physicians against larger drugstores who can afford the expenditure. In response, Hayashi submitted a bill that would require the board of pharmacy to obtain approval before sponsoring legislation.

The Los Angeles Times, reported this weekend, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed an executive from CVS/Pharmacy to the board of pharmacy the day before they reversed an earlier decision to back Sen. Ellen Corbett’s bill calling for larger fonts on prescription bottles and providing translations of advice for the use of the medications. According to the report, the executive cast the deciding vote against the changes which drug retailers opposed.

In both instances, the appearance of lobbying dollars emanating from retailers like Walgreens, RiteAid and CVS/Pharmacy to the governors’s coffers and point to corporate leaning by industry lobblyists in Sacramento. The role of the California Retailers Association lies central to both cases. The organization has contributed over $400,000 to Schwarzenegger since 2005, according to the LA Times.


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