L.A. County joins Newsom effort to cut prescription drug costs

After touring a county hospital in Downey, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that Los Angeles County will partner with the state to combine their market strength in hopes of negotiating lower prescription drug costs from pharmaceutical companies.

Newsom has been pushing efforts to lower drug costs since taking office 100 days ago. One of his first official actions as governor was signing an executive order aimed at creating a single-purchaser system allowing the state, counties, cities and private employers negotiate jointly with drug companies.

Los Angeles County on Wednesday became the first to partner with the state since Newsom signed the order. "We will use our market power and our moral power to demand fairer prices for prescription drugs," Newsom said. "And we will continue to move closer to ensuring health care for every Californian."

Newsom made the announcement after touring Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, where he was joined by county Supervisors Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn.

"We are saving money now," Newsom told the crowd at the event. "We're going to save billions and billions of dollars over the next few years.

And we're lighting up the imagination of others. ... Not one, but two governors have called me saying, `What about us? What about our states joining the state of California?"

CNS contributed to this story.