WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 20, 1999) --The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has launched its second series of radio ads aimed at focusing President Clinton's and the public's attention on adding prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients. Congress and the president are expected to take up the issue when they return to Washington after the August recess.
The first needed reform is helping seniors pay for medicines when they cannot afford treatment for devastating diseases--when they are the sickest and need help the most. The second is preventing government agencies, such as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), from setting prices for drugs and limiting access to them.
BIO's ads began this week and will run through Aug. 30 on WMVY radio on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., when President Clinton is scheduled to be there. The 60-second ads will air at least seven times a day between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The ads are attached and are posted on BIO's website at www.bio.org under a section titled "Medicare modernization."
"We are running these ads on Martha's Vineyard hopefully where we can get the president's ear,ö BIO President, Carl B. Feldbaum stated.
"Massachusetts has one of the largest concentrations of biotech companies in the nation. Many of the companies in this state and around the nation are researching new cures and therapies for Alzheimer's, cancers, heart disease and other afflictions which inordinately strike seniors.
"But most of these biotech companies are still in the research phase with no products on the market or even revenues yet. Any Medicare plan which inadvertently discourages private sector investment in biotech research will cut off development of the very same drugs seniors will need the most," Feldbaum added.
BIO's first series of ads ran in the Washington D.C. area in late July and August just before Congress adjourned.
BIO represents more than 850 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural and environmental biotechnology products.
Text of the ads:
BIO Radio Spot I (60 seconds)
Woman: I am a retired school teacher looking forward to a long, healthy life. I want to see my grandchildren grow up.
I've been reading about new breakthrough drugs coming from biotechnology research.
These biotech companies are developing new treatments for Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. Sounds like biotech could help make my life longer and better.
I rely on Medicare, but I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on prescription drugs.
President Clinton says his new drug plan will help me if I get sick. I've done my homework, and this plan won't do much for me if I get really sick and need the newest, most effective medicines.
And I don't want a big government agency to set drug policy. That could mean I might not be able to get the drugs my doctor prescribes.
If Republicans and Democrats really want to make a difference, we need a plan that helps me pay for my medicines when I am the sickest and need help the most so I can keep up with my grandkids.
BIO Radio Spot 2 (60 seconds)
Husband: My wife and I are retired and we rely on Medicare to cover our health care bills.
Wife: We're pretty healthy now, knock on wood, but I'm worried about later on as we get older. We don't have a lot of extramoney to spend on prescription drugs.
Husband: We keep ourselves pretty well-informed. We know there are new biotech drugs being developed for osteoporosis,Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer.
Wife: These biotech drugs are the most advanced medicines, and if they can keep us out of the hospital I want to make sure wecan get them.
Husband: We think its great Congress and the President want to finally give Medicare beneficiaries drug coverage.
Wife: What the folks in Washington are missing is that those of us who worked so hard to build a modest nest egg are worried it won't be enough when we really get sick. The president's plan and the other proposals in Congress need to take care of thesickest, and then the rest of us, before they provide new benefits to the Ross Perots and Lee Iacoccas.
Husband: I don't know if the president and others are playing politics with our healthcare. But what we seniors need is a real drug benefit; one that helps out those who aren't rich when they need it the most.
Announcer: This message was brought to you by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.