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Peeved: A "Pee in the Cup" initiative to require random drug testing for doctors in California could qualify for the November ballot this week, setting up a battle royal between trial lawyers backing the measure and the medical industry.

In addition to the drug-testing provision, the measure would lift the state's long-standing $250,000 cap on pain-and-suffering awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The health care industry, state Chamber of Commerce, Planned Parenthood and major public employee unions have lined up to fight the measure.

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, came in with a last-ditch compromise that would have kept the measure off the ballot, but the doctors nixed it.

"It was a political extortion attempt at the last minute," said Sam Singer, hired gun for the California Medical Association. "Doctors won't play that game."


San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or e-mail