Season of slime upon us

Let the deception begin. With the looming special November election comes the related political advertising designed to confuse, trick and downright mislead the voting public. The first of these scurrilous ads to appear so far this season urges us to vote for Proposition 78 and against Proposition 79, both of which allegedly deal with lowering prescription drug costs for low- and middle-income Californians.

The ads feature caring doctors and pharmaceutical research scientists warning that Prop. 79 will create government bureaucracy and take doctors out of the equation in deciding who deserves low-cost prescription drugs.

The small print on the bottom of the ad touting Prop. 78 shows who’s pushing the proposition and includes drug manufacturing giants like Merck and Pfizer.

Prop. 78 calls for voluntary participation by drug companies in a discount prescription drug program. Common sense tells us that if these companies were willing to voluntarily offer lower prescription costs for the low-income in the first place, there would be no need for the proposition.

Prop. 79 calls for the state to not enter into Medi-Cal contracts with manufacturers not willing to offer discount prices for drugs, which is a gamble where low-income earners who need certain medications would be the losers.

Supporters of Prop. 79, including the League of Women Voters and a number of consumer advocate groups, say the real purpose of Prop. 78 is to confuse voters into defeating Prop. 79 by offering a virtually meaningless alternative. It very well may succeed because there are millions of dollars of drug-manufacturer money behind Prop. 78 to ensure its confusing message reaches the voters.

Pay attention when November rolls around and don’t be suckered by the ads.