Washington, D.C. (June 28, 2002) – Sharon L. Cohen, vice president for government relations at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement following the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 4954, the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2002:
“BIO has developed six core principles that are crucial to ensuring beneficiary access to breakthrough medications and to encouraging the continuation of research that makes these products possible. We support market-based solutions that provide a basic level of coverage for all beneficiaries, plus extra help for those most in need, either because of low income or catastrophic medical needs. We are pleased that in the final version of this bill the stop-loss ceiling – the point at which 100 percent coverage would kick in to cover seniors with catastrophic prescription costs – was lowered from $4,500 to $3,700 annually. H.R. 4954 does not encompass all of the industry’s Medicare principles, but would meet most of our objectives in developing a plan to close this gap in our nation’s health-care system.
“We commend the work of Representatives Tauzin and Thomas, the two committee chairmen who guided this legislation through drafting, markup and passage.
“As the coverage debate moves to the Senate in the coming weeks, we hope that Congress and the administration will broaden Medicare reform efforts this year to address current reimbursement problems, including the dramatic cuts made earlier this year to pass-through payments for innovative medical treatments in the hospital outpatient setting.”
BIO’s drug coverage and reimbursement policies, including the six core Medicare principles, are available online at www.bio.org/rx/.
BIO represents more than 1,000 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.