BIO RESPONSE TO HOUSE AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL

  • Contact: Peper Long (202) 962-9200
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 11, 2001) - Sharon Cohen, vice president for health care policy for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today issued the following statement regarding the FY02 House Agriculture Appropriations bill:

"There is a glaring lack of understanding in the House of Representatives
regarding the dangerous nature of the reimportation amendments considered in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill. Although the amendment offered by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was defeated, an equally harmful amendment by Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) passed.

"By effectively prohibiting the federal government from policing our borders
for possible counterfeit prescription drugs, Rep. Gutknecht's reimportation amendment will open American borders to potentially dangerous drugs and biologicals that 'appear' to look like the real thing. This is a risky proposition that could have dire consequences for American patients.

"We look forward to working with members of the Senate to pass
appropriate legislation that does not throw down the welcome mat for dangerous drugs and biologicals at our borders, but that does make sense for the health and well-being of the American public."

On another issue, Rep. Thomas Allen (D-ME) was forced to withdraw an
amendment that would have halted drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration for as much as two years.

"Rep. Allen's misguided amendment would have required the disclosure of all
research and development costs of a drug prior to FDA approval, forcing patients in need of treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, breast cancer, diabetes and AIDS, to wait for extraneous and unnecessary regulations to be finalized by the government."

The House Parliamentarian ruled that Rep. Allen's amendment changed
existing law, which is strictly prohibited on an appropriations bill.

BIO represents more than 950 biotechnology companies, academic institutions,
state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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.