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BIO Issues Statement On Threat To Medical Innovation Posed By President’s Proposed 2016 Budget

Thursday, February 19, 2015  
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Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s FY 2016 budget proposal:

“We oppose any cuts or changes to Medicare Parts B and D, which are both working well. We should not disrupt these successful programs by adding unnecessary changes, which could put at risk patient access to necessary medicines.”

“Many provisions in the President’s budget proposal for 2016 are deeply troubling and would be extremely detrimental to the development of new cures and treatments for patients in need. The budget contains multiple provisions proposing changes to biologic data exclusivity and cuts to Medicare Part D and B. The President claims that these provisions would lower drugs costs and improve patient access, but in reality they would do the opposite, undermining the hope of cures and new breakthrough medicines for patients living with debilitating diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, among others.

“We oppose any cuts or changes to Medicare Parts B and D, which are both working well. We should not disrupt these successful programs by adding unnecessary changes, which could put at risk patient access to necessary medicines.

“The Administration’s proposal to reduce the period of regulatory data protection for innovative biologics manufacturers will jeopardize the careful, overwhelmingly bipartisan balance established in the law to reduce costs, expand access, and encourage continued innovation that will create good, high-paying biotech jobs and lead to breakthrough therapies and cures.

“In fact, all of the above proposals will directly undermine other initiatives and activities contained within the President’s budget and which we find critically important. These include the President’s announcement of a new 'Precision Medicine Initiative' and provisions to increase funding for innovative R&D, specifically basic research and advanced manufacturing technology. Investing in the next generation of modern medicines will help to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of breakthrough cures and treatments that can save and improve lives.

“In addition, BIO is encouraged by the increase in funding for the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority and the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund, as well as funding to combat antimicrobial resistance. These funding requests recognize the significance of the threat posed to our national security by antimicrobial resistance and other natural-occurring biological threats as well as bioterrorism.

“BIO urges the Administration to continue its focus on agricultural research – specifically expanding the use of technology in agriculture – as part of building a 21st Century Economy. America has long been a leader in global agricultural production, but for our farmers and growers to remain competitive, they need access to cutting-edge technologies such as improved seeds and plants and trees that resist disease and environmental stresses. We also need to encourage research and development in agricultural research by making the U.S. product approval system more timely and predictable for technology developers.

“BIO supports agricultural research incentives that promote clean energy crop and biomedical research, including the cures and therapies being developed with animal biotechnology.

“BIO also supports the budget provisions related to investing in homegrown clean energy. If the United States remains committed to clean energy, the nation will continue to make visible progress and attract substantial investments in advanced biofuel technology, creating thousands of new jobs. Advanced and cellulosic biofuel companies are making visible progress in bringing millions of gallons of cleaner fuels to U.S. drivers. To continue building the advanced biofuel industry around homegrown technology, the United States must provide stable, long-term investment incentives – such as the second-generation biofuel production tax credit – to U.S. companies.

“We will continue to work with President Obama, members of his Administration and the Congress in pursuit of public policies that encourage investment in biotech innovation.”

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