BIO 2004 Roundtable to Explore Issues of Access to Breakthrough Biotech Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 28, 2004) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has made available online a case study concerning the issues surrounding access and affordability of breakthrough biotechnology products that will serve as the basis for a June 6 roundtable discussion during the BIO 2004 International Convention in San Francisco.

The case study will be examined by a roundtable of industry leaders, bioethicists and healthcare economists and facilitated by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Neeson, a veteran of the PBS-televised "Fred Friendly Seminars." The case study and guest commentary are available on the BIO 2004 Web site at

"The complex mission of a biopharmaceutical company is to bring products to patients expeditiously, in ways that expand patient access, encourage continued innovation and maximize shareholder value," said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. "Achieving all this requires balancing of the interests of many stakeholders, including patients and their families, healthcare providers, academic researchers, government regulators, corporate shareholders, and the company's dedicated employees."

The roundtable case study, "The Value of Acedia®," focuses on a CEO of a small biotech company who receives conflicting advice - from her venture capitalist board chairman; from her company's patient-focused chief scientist; and from her practical, business-minded CFO - on pricing strategies for their company's first, soon-to-be-approved product, and wrestles with the appropriate role ethics should play in the young company's pricing decision.

"Access to and affordability of breakthrough therapeutic products are key topics that are debated in the halls of Congress, in company board rooms, and at kitchen tables around the country," said Debra Aronson, BIO's director of bioethics. "By hosting this roundtable, we hope to advance broader understanding of these important topics."

BIO and its Bioethics Committee encourage those attending the roundtable to read the case study in advance and come prepared to actively listen and ask questions.

What: Ethics Roundtable - "Ethics and Industry Decision-Making: Access to and
Affordability of Breakthrough Biotechnology Products"
When: Sunday, June 6, 2004
1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Where: Room 308 South, Moscone Convention Center
Moderator: Charles Nesson, Weld Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Panelists: Russ Bantham, executive vice president, PhRMA

Simon Best, CEO, Ardana Bioscience

Teo Forcht Dagi, managing partner, Cordova Ventures

Margaret Eaton, senior research scholar, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics

Lou Garrison, veteran industry healthcare economist

Steven Holtzman, president & CEO, Infinity Pharmaceuticals

For more information about this and other ethics sessions at BIO 2004, go online at Registration is complimentary for credentialed news media; however, only reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations will be permitted to register on-site in San Francisco. Members of the media are urged to register as soon as possible.

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.

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