The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has long been concerned about the access of senior citizens to prescription drug coverage. Biotechnology companies are at the forefront of discovering, developing and bringing to market the next generation of life-saving medicines. Many of the products in biotech company pipelines target diseases that predominantly affect seniors. As an early proponent of adding stop-loss coverage and low-income subsidies to any Medicare drug benefit legislation, BIO developed a set of principles to govern the association's consideration of various drug coverage proposals.
The Medicare conference agreement conforms closely to BIO's principles, and the association urges Congress to act quickly and send the bill to the White House for the president's signature.
BIO's Principles for Medicare Reform
Review of the Medicare Conference Agreement in Light of BIO's Principles
The Medicare conference agreement is a carefully crafted effort to provide drug coverage to all senior citizens while protecting the future of Medicare. Moreover, it is consistent with the incentives needed to develop breakthrough medicines to treat the seniors of tomorrow. BIO is especially pleased that the bill takes steps toward reform of the Medicare program-to ensure that it is available and modernized for future generations of senior citizens.
The bill provides drug coverage through the private marketplace (principle 1), and offers seniors the important option of receiving their drug coverage through more integrated delivery systems (principle 3). It also provides significant low-income subsidies and protection against those with high levels of prescription spending (principle 2).
While the bill provides a significant investment in the drug coverage of senior citizens, it is carefully crafted to ensure that it does not bankrupt the program (principle 5). This framework will also help to prevent undue government involvement that could lead to price controls that could chill innovation (principle 4).
BIO's sixth principle, "Do no harm to current coverage and reimbursement" concerns recent decisions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that have undermined patient access to critical biotech therapies. BIO's key concerns with current Medicare coverage and reimbursement rules are addressed by the conference agreement. In addition, the agreement is carefully crafted to avoid creating problems for patients attempting to access medicines currently covered by Medicare. Specifically, the bill:
BIO supports the Medicare conference agreement and appreciates the careful work of members of Congress and their staffs in creating workable prescription drug coverage legislation. We urge Congress to act quickly to get the bill to the president's desk.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
For other information and any questions, contact Sharon Cohen at 202-962-9200.