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BIO Statement on Announced House Democrats' Drug Pricing Task Force

Wednesday, November 4, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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Washington, D.C. (November 4, 2015) – The following statement may be attributed to BIO Senior Vice President of Communications Kenneth Lisaius:

“The biopharmaceutical industry is committed to advancing medical innovation and developing 21st century treatments and cures for patients in need around the world. We hope that this newly formed task force organized by a small group of House Democrats will take a balanced approach and focus not only on the question of affordability of medicines, but also on the equally critical  need to sustain continued medical innovation for the patients of today and tomorrow.  We are disappointed, however, to learn that this task force seems likely to be narrowly focused on the cost of prescription drugs, rather than the enormous value they bring to patients, the healthcare system and society in general.

“The vast majority of biotech companies are pre-revenue enterprises focused on innovative R&D to develop novel products.  In fact, of the approximately 1,200 biopharma companies in the United States, more than 90 percent do not earn a profit.  Yet these small companies are developing more than 60 percent of the new products, providing hope to patients and their families facing so many life-threatening diseases.  These companies depend on a carefully balanced system that requires billions of dollars in private investment to further the research and development needed to bring these new cures to patients, and this unique aspect of our industry must be part of any serious debate.

“Any task force focused on healthcare costs also must acknowledge two fundamental facts about medicines.  First, these products save the healthcare system money.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) credits each dollar of additional spending on medicines with a 20 cent reduction in other healthcare expenses, such as reduced hospitalizations or the avoidance of other medical procedures.  Second, medicines represent only 10 percent of total healthcare costs – a figure that, despite the increasingly shrill rhetoric on this issue, has remained remarkably constant for more than 50 years and is projected to remain at that level for the foreseeable future.

“We hope that this task force will examine those industries responsible for 90 percent of our nation’s healthcare costs – industries in which, unlike biopharmaceuticals, there is no generic competition to drive prices down over time.  We also urge this task force to examine the unjustifiable costs and burdens that the insurance industry continues to place on patients in an effort to limit their access to affordable and effective new treatments.  Such discrimination, often against the sickest of patients, makes a mockery of the notion of insurance.

“Whatever the outcome of this task force, BIO members – large and small – will continue searching for new cures to help sick and suffering patients.  We stand ready to work with Congressional leaders to enhance patient access to safe and affordable life-saving and life-changing medicines, now and in the future.”

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.

Source: Biotechnology Industry Organization.

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