Pandemic or not, Americans are embracing sustainability

August 5, 2020
Today, we take a closer look at recent research on Americans’ views on sustainability and COVID-19—and how biotech can help—as well as how Trump’s drug pricing executive order will affect innovation. Here are 865 words, around 4 and a half minutes.

Today, we take a closer look at recent research on Americans’ views on sustainability and COVID-19—and how biotech can help—as well as how Trump’s drug pricing executive order will affect innovation. Here are 865 words, around 4 and a half minutes.

Pandemic or not, Americans are embracing sustainability

That’s the key finding from new research by BIO member Genomatica, which found the vast majority of Americans care about sustainability and want the public and private sectors to continue to focus on it, crisis or not. 

A majority of Americans (85%) are thinking about sustainability the same amount or more than they did before the crisis—and 86% say sustainability will be equally or more important when the pandemic subsides.

And more than half (56%) want the government and business to prioritize sustainability, even as they continue to battle the health and economic challenges—and this is approximately the same regardless of party affiliation. 

It seems like the crisis has driven home the importance of sustainability: “Nearly half (46%) of those who say they live in areas hit hard by COVID-19 claim they’ve been thinking more about sustainability,” and one-third feel guilty about being less sustainable during these times. 

A lot of people (42%) say being sustainable is easier than they thought—and more people are realizing we can commute less, fly less, and buy more renewable and sustainable products even after the pandemic. 

And for the rest of the time, biotech can provide a lot of solutions—from renewable biofuel, which has a smaller carbon footprint, to bio-based plastics, personal care products, and household cleaners like the ones Genomatica develops using synthetic biology.   

What they’re saying: “The collective consciousness on sustainability is rising, and certainly faster than most would have expected during these unprecedented times,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “While this shift has been underway for decades, and particularly strong in Europe, many of us in the U.S. have been inspired by the rapid improvement in air quality and traffic that shine a bright light on how our behaviors and decisions impact our environment and quality of life.”


More Agriculture and Environment News:

The New York Times: Can humans give coronavirus to bats, and other wildlife?
“It may seem like the last pandemic worry right now, far down the line after concerns about getting sick and staying employed. But as the spread of the novel coronavirus has made clear, the more careful we are about viruses passing among species, the better off we are.” 


Why Trump’s drug pricing order is bad news for biotech innovation

As we mentioned yesterday, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath published an op-ed in The Hill about President Trump’s recent drug pricing executive order. Today, we want to take a look at the impact on small biotechs in particular.

ICYMI: On July 24, Trump announced an executive order to implement foreign reference pricing to determine drug prices under Medicare, basing prices on amounts paid by a group of foreign countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 

It’s bad news for patients. The order “would limit reimbursement for physician-administered, injectable drugs for seniors in the middle of a pandemic that’s ravaging America’s elderly,” writes Dr. McMurry-Heath.

And it’s bad news for innovation. It “will stall the capital flowing to small biotechs working to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end,” she continues.

In fact, it’s already having an impact. “Since word of the president’s ill-timed mandate circulated among investors, the market value of companies included in the NASDAQ Biotech Index fell by $80 billion—a 7 percent drop.”

Why do small biotechs matter? Small companies are driving more than 70 percent of drug candidates through the COVID-19 pipeline.

The bottom line? None of Trump’s EOs address “the real crisis in American health care: insurers’ shifting of costs to patients in the form of ever-higher deductibles and co-pays. This reality drives the access challenges that have left vulnerable communities with higher rates of untreated illness and more lethal outcomes when infected with the coronavirus,” she concludes. 

Read the whole thing.

Read Dr. Michelle’s letter to Trump.


More Health Care News:

Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC): SEC Announces New Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee Members
The SEC announced the appointment of Sue Washer, President and CEO of BIO member Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation. 

STAT News: Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine shows promising immune response, early data show
“Novavax enrolled about 130 healthy volunteers in its trial and gave them either a placebo or one of four escalating doses of its vaccine. Everyone who received the vaccine developed neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.” 

The Washington Post (Opinion): Blood plasma might be the COVID-19 treatment we need
“We need a concerted effort to collect blood plasma, along with clinical trials to determine when its benefits outweigh the risks so we can treat the right people at the right time,” write four former FDA commissioners.

BIO Beltway Report

President Trump’s Wednesday: Meeting with the Governor of Arizona, then participating in a tele-rally for Tennessee Senate candidate Bill Hagerty.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The New York Times said that there may have been some progress on the coronavirus aid package negotiations in the Senate, but Trump’s considering executive action to speed it along, reports POLITICO. Meanwhile, Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is considering two U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) nominees, per POLITICO Day Ahead, and House Oversight and Reform is holding a hearing on the health impacts of climate change.

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