BIO 2003 on the Hill: BIO Takes Medicare and Other Biotech Policy Sessions to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2003) – Taking full advantage of the Washington, D.C., location of BIO 2003, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is bringing eight of the convention's policy sessions to Capitol Hill.

The primary location of BIO 2003 is the Washington Convention Center, where more than 15,000 biotechnology executives, scientists, policymakers and journalists are expected to converge June 21-25. There they will find 25 tracks of programming, including sessions on policy, business development, science and regulatory affairs. The convention also encompasses a two-day public HealthFest, June 21-22, on the National Mall; special forums on bioethics, global health and patient advocacy; a two-day NIH Director's Lecture Series; 345,000 square feet of exhibit space; a series of dazzling receptions at Washington landmarks; and a BIO TV Studio and media center, complete with two press conference rooms.

"We have invited every member of Congress to our convention events, and have encouraged senior staff to attend as well," said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of BIO. "However, we realize that with the debate on Medicare reform and drug coverage expected to be in full swing that week, it will be difficult for some of the people we most want to reach to get away from the Hill for a few hours. So we're taking our best biotech policy sessions to them."

Schedule for BIO 2003 on the Hill

Tuesday, June 24
Capitol Building, Room HC-6

  • Lessons to Learn From the Implementation of the Hatch-Waxman Act
    9 – 10 a.m.
    This panel will discuss the prospects for an abbreviated pathway for follow-on biologics, the practical hurdles to such a pathway, and the implications for market-protection strategies in the biotechnology industry.
  • Biotechnology and Developing Countries: Spotlight on Africa
    10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
    Dr. Calestous Juma leads a panel exploring the potential for biotechnology to address chronic poverty and health problems in Africa – and the legal and regulatory challenges standing in the way. Dr. Juma is the director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Program at Harvard University's Center for International Development.
  • Creating a Biodefense Industry: Whether, How, What and When?
    Noon – 1 p.m.
    What will it take in the way of incentives and policies to create a biodefense industry? Representatives of biotechnology companies, private investors and government officials will engage in a frank exchange on the issues.
  • Creating Incentives for Drug Research: The Carrot or Stick Approach
    1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
    This panel will debate the relative merits of regulatory and incentive-based approaches to motivating private research for specific diseases or specific subpopulations.

Wednesday, June 25
Longworth Building, Room 1116

  • Views From The Hill: Patent Reform Measures and Recent Proposed Patent Legislation
    9 – 10 a.m.
    Topics for discussion may include: 1) application of the Hatch-Waxman Act to biologics and reform measures to facilitate generic drug approvals; 2) fee restructuring at the Patent and Trademark Office; and 3) global harmonization of patent laws.
  • How Federal Legislation Affects Biotechnology Innovation: A Case Study on Medicare
    Noon – 1 p.m.
    Congress appears finally poised to reform Medicare to provide prescription drug coverage and private-sector delivery options. What will this mean for innovation in the biotechnology industry? How will policy changes affect patients access to the newest and most effective therapies? Join panelists for a discussion of these and other Medicare issues.
  • Stem Cells and Cloning: Late-Breaking Science and Controversies
    1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
    As researchers demonstrate the potential of stem cell technology, politicians continue to scrutinize this work, and some seek to limit it. This session will examine the scientific, legal and ethical landscape for stem-cell-based regenerative medicine.

About BIO 2003

For detailed program information about BIO 2003, visit Reporters may register online until June 13 at

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.