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Opponents of medical malpractice initiative hold money advantage

Opponents of a ballot measure that would raise the limit on certain medical malpractice damages have far outpaced the initiative's supporters in fundraising and spending, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday night.

The "no" campaign on Proposition 46 brought in $20.6 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 of this year, mostly from doctors and insurance companies. Proponents, meanwhile, raised $3.2 million, primarily from attorneys.

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The fundraising disparities have led to lopsided spending: opponents spent $43.8 million in that time period, with almost $25 million of that going toward television ads.

The "yes" side spent far less, $3.2 million, with two-thirds of those funds spent on TV commercials. They enter the final campaign strech with just under $1.3 million in the bank as of Sept. 30.

The measure's opponents have substantially more cash on hand: $10.5 million.

The ballot measure would raise the cap on awards for pain and suffering in medical negligence cases from $250,000 to approximately $1.1 million. It also would require hospitals to drug-test their physicians and mandate that doctors check a statewide database before prescribing certain drugs.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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