BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood and the Chair of BIO's Board of Directors, Dr. Joshua Boger, President & CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, hosted a media briefing on September 3rd to discuss key legislative issues to be considered in the last few weeks of the 110th Congress or, more likely, by a new Congress and Presidential administration next year. They reviewed BIO's main accomplishments during the current Congress, and discussed pending issues important to the biotech industry, including:
They also emphasized the critical importance of confirming the next Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) early in the next Administration to provide the strong leadership necessary to lead the agency, which has a critical health and safety mission. During the Q&A with participating reporters , the positions of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama on health care reform and intellectual property were of great interest. According to Boger and Greenwood, although both Senators have been supportive of embryonic stem cell research and increased funding for medical research, both also support re-importation of drugs and would allow the government to negotiate prices under the Medicare Part D drug benefit. The challenge for BIO and its members is to ensure that both candidates understand that to reach our shared goals - increased access to health care, environmental sustainability, and the development of renewable forms of energy - we must have public policy that encourages continued biotechnology innovation. Download and listen to the media briefing.