Statement by BIO President Jim Greenwood on California’s Vote to Defeat Propositions 78 and 79

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 9, 2005) -- James C. Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), released the following statement regarding California’s vote to adopt neither Proposition 78, the Discounts on Prescription Drugs Initiative, nor Proposition 79, the Prescription Drug Discounts and State-Negotiated Rebates Initiative:

“Proposition 79 is the wrong prescription for Californians. It could have denied access to critical medicines to the state’s Medicaid population and also would have encouraged frivolous litigation against drug makers. These lawsuits would undermine California’s world-class biotech industry by chilling investment in research into the next generation of biomedical breakthroughs. I am pleased that California’s electorate saw the potential problems with Proposition 79 and voted not to approve the measure.

“Proposition 78 would have enabled California’s biotech companies to quickly implement a coordinated voluntary program of discounts on prescription medications for individuals who are not eligible for state-funded health care or who otherwise cannot afford health insurance.

“Many California biotechnology companies with products on the market have patient assistance programs designed to get innovative treatments to those patients who cannot otherwise afford them. BIO and its member companies remain committed to improving access to innovative medicines. As this issue will make its way back to Sacramento next year, we look forward to working with California’s legislature to find a workable approach to providing access to innovative medicines to individuals who lack insurance coverage for prescription medicines.

“California has the highest concentration of biotechnology companies in the world, and they share the goal of bringing cutting-edge medicines to all who need them. They want Californians -- and all Americans -- to have the best available medicines of today, while keeping the door open to the medicines of tomorrow.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

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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.