WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2003) – With Congressional debate on Medicare reform heating up, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is launching today a second wave of its "Keep the Care in Medicare" print ad campaign in key Capitol Hill publications urging legislators to remedy a threat to existing Medicare patient access to life-saving medicines provided in the hospital outpatient setting.
The ad includes reference to 18 supporting organizations representing millions of Americans affected by diseases such as cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis and rare diseases. Each of the organizations has written Congress pleading with legislators to correct a regulation implemented earlier this year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that jeopardizes "access to the very important drugs that Medicare covers today."
"Congress needs to understand that as it considers adding a drug benefit under the Medicare program, an existing benefit already available to the nation’s seniors and disabled populations is being seriously risked by the CMS regulation that became effective Jan. 1," said Carl B. Feldbaum, BIO president. "This ad demonstrates that a number of patient groups are aware of this significant problem and are calling on Congress to do the right thing and fix it as other Medicare reforms are adopted."
To view the ad, go online at www.within-reach.org.
- Like its predecessor, the new ad again depicts an elderly woman, but lists the 18 patient, senior and healthcare groups in support of the campaign to correct the CMS rule and explains the key reforms that Congress must include in its Medicare legislation. Specifically, BIO and the groups are calling on federal legislators to:
- Reform the flawed methodology currently used to reimburse hospitals for drugs and biologicals provided under Medicare's hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS).
- Rescind the CMS "functional equivalence" approach to setting reimbursement rates.
- Restore radiopharmaceuticals' status as drugs under the OPPS system.
- Treat all orphan drugs equitably on the reimbursement scale.
The new ad campaign begins today in The Hill newspaper and will continue Wednesday, June 11 in Roll Call and CongressDaily. BIO's first ad series began in early May and appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Bangor Daily News (Maine), the Billings Gazette (Mont.), CongressDaily, the Des Moines Register (Iowa), Roll Call, and the Times Picayune (La.).
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.