2 things you need to do this fall

September 15, 2020
There are two things you must do this fall: get ready to vote and get a flu vaccine. More details below, including the outlook for drug pricing policy and why the flu shot is even more important during a pandemic, in around 870 words, 4 and a half minutes. P.S. Join…

There are two things you must do this fall: get ready to vote and get a flu vaccine. More details below, including the outlook for drug pricing policy and why the flu shot is even more important during a pandemic, in around 870 words, 4 and a half minutes.

P.S. Join us today at 1:00 PM ET for the first in four-part webinar series on biotech IP. Sponsored by Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, To Pool, Pledge, or License: Allocating IP Rights During COVID-19 R&D will feature different perspectives from industry experts. Click here to register.


  1. Get ready to vote

Science is the way out of this pandemic—and scientific breakthroughs are on the ballot on November 3. To help you get ready for Election Day, our initiative Biotech Votes has resources to help you get registered and get informed. 

First, make sure you’re registered to vote. Check out our handy form to verify your voter information, find out your polling location, or request a mail-in ballot.

Then, get informed. We just released the Biotech Votes 2020 Election Preview Report, an in-depth analysis of the races that matter the most, from the top of the ticket down the ballot to Senate, House, and state races.

In 2021, drug pricing policy will be highly dependent on the outcome of the election, which could take the form of one of three scenarios:

  • A status quo scenario (Trump WH, R Senate, D House) would most likely lead to similar characteristics of the 116th Congress, a Legislative Branch in gridlock on health policy (including drug pricing), and an Executive Branch intent on executive action and regulatory reform. While structural reform to prescription drug policy would be unlikely, smaller policies (such as forms of importation and manufacturing incentives) may impact the industry on a limited scale. This is likely to result in winners and losers (i.e., specialty vs. retail or Part B vs. Part D).
  • A mixed result (Biden WH, R Senate, D House) means the McConnell-led Senate would act as a check on the larger and more transformative proposals from the House (like H.R. 3) but would face additional pressure from a Biden White House.
  • A Democratic sweep (Biden WH, D Senate, D House) is the likeliest scenario for structural reform on the insurance market and prescription drug pricing, climate, and environmental issues. 

This is just a tiny snapshot of what you’ll find in the report—so download the whole thing.

Why voting matters: “The 2020 elections will be one for the record books. This year highly contested elections are coupled with a pandemic, economic upheaval and social protests around the country. Who wins the White House will have ramifications around the world,” says our report.

Watch yesterday’s sold-out election preview webinar.

Visit www.bio.org/vote to learn more.

49 Days to Election Day - Visit www.bio.org/vote to learn more.
  1. Get ready for the flu

September is National Preparedness Month, and between the hurricanes, wildfires, and COVID-19 pandemic, you might be feeling overwhelmed. But there’s one thing you can to do get ready for what’s ahead and protect yourself and your loved ones: get a flu shot.

It’s more important than ever for everyone to get a flu vaccine this year, agreed infectious disease experts Phyllis Arthur, BIO’s VP of Infectious Disease Policy, and Vanderbilt’s Dr. William Schaffner, on the latest episode of the I AM BIO Podcast.  

The flu vaccine can “take a substantial strain off the health care system, which will already be coping – in overdrive – with COVID,” said Dr. Schaffner, who is also medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. This will make it easier “to take that normal flu load out of the health care system.”

It can also reduce your individual risk, by preventing infections, making cases less severe, and reducing risk of coinfection with influenza/coronavirus—which can happen. 

Take Australia, as one example. During the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season in the spring/summer, Australia administered more flu vaccines than ever before in addition to practicing social distancing and masking. As a result, they recorded 36 flu deaths as of July, compared to 430 the previous year.

The bottom line: “What we do as persons across the United States will help determine how serious this influenza season is,” said Dr. Schaffner.   

Listen to the whole thing to hear what we’re learning about long-term effects of post-flu/post-COVID inflammation, why people with chronic conditions need to get vaccinated, and how the flu vaccine is a dress rehearsal for a future COVID vaccine.  

Listen at www.bio.org/podcast or your favorite podcast platform, including AppleGoogle, or Spotify.

And, seriously—just get your flu shot. September and October are the best months to get the shot, to give you maximum immunity throughout the season, reports NPR.

To find out where you can get a flu vaccine near you, visit www.vaccinefinder.org.

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Tuesday: In Washington for the signing of the historic accords between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Then, heading to Philadelphia for the ABC News Town Hall, which airs at 9 PM ET. Meanwhile, STAT News looks at the impact of Trump’s drug pricing executive order on the election.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Washington gridlock could make the pandemic much worse, says Axios. House Republicans have released their election-year plan, reports POLITICO.

Meanwhile, some good news for biofuels: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will deny petitions for small refinery exemptions for past compliance years, the so-called “gap-filing” petitions for the 2011-2018 compliance years. Stephanie Batchelor, VP of BIO’s Industrial and Environment Section, says, “This is the right decision and hopefully will provide more certainty for the biofuels industry. However, given the impact the looming climate crisis and the effects poor air quality have on people impacted by COVID—especially disadvantaged communities—we need EPA and Congress to be consistent in its support of the biofuels sector in bringing more clean fuel options to market to protect the environment, improve public health, and bring jobs back to rural America” 


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