BIO seeks strong role in Medicare debate
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2001) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today named Sharon L. Cohen BIO’s first vice president for health policy. Cohen, an experienced health policy strategist and lobbyist, joins BIO after spending the past two years as chief lobbyist for the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA).
“Sharon Cohen’s appointment signals our industry’s commitment to have a persuasive and substantive voice in the upcoming debate over Medicare,” said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. “Over the next several years we have an opportunity to find a solution to provide access to prescription drugs for seniors who currently lack coverage.
“In addition to leading our board Committee on Reimbursement, Sharon will chair the new BIO staff health policy cluster made up of Steve Lawton, vice president for regulatory affairs and general counsel, and Lee Rawls, vice president for government relations, and their staffs.
“Our board has asked BIO to take a lead role in the coming Medicare prescription drug benefit debate, and on drug reimbursement issues regarding the Health Care Financing Administration and other agencies,” Feldbaum added.
“Sharon’s background and experience with the health insurance industry will be a formidable asset to BIO and its members. We are pleased to have her join our senior management team. We believe this and other recent appointments to the BIO staff will position the organization to play a significant political and policy role in the health-care battles ahead.”
Cohen has been a Washington lobbyist for nearly 20 years. AsHIAA’s chief lobbyist, she developed and directed day-to-day strategy for the 300-member trade association’s federal advocacy efforts on issues such as Medicare, tax policy, medical privacy, e-commerce and group and individual health and long-term care insurance.
Cohen was director of congressional relations for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association before joining HIAA. She also worked as deputy director of federal relations for the American Psychiatric Association and director of health policy for the Alliance for Aging Research.
Cohen earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Arizona in Tucson and an M.A. in health economics and international affairs from American University in Washington, D.C.
BIO represents more than 950 companies, institutions and state biotech centers in all 50 U.S. states and 26 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.