BIO '99 To Explore Debate Over Financing Drug Benefits For Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C.(April 22, 1999) Mandating access to drugs and biologics for older citizens, either as part of Medicare modernization or through some other legislation, may have a significant long-term impact on the biotechnology industry, particularly if those measures include government-imposed price controls.

The BIO '99 International Biotechnology Meeting & Exhibition in Seattle, Washington, May 16-20, will feature a symposium with industry and government experts exploring the issue of future financing for a Medicare program that includes prescription drug benefits.

The Thursday, May 20, symposium (8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) is titled "Seniors' Access To Drugs and Biologics: Who Should Pay?" The experts participating are: Barbara Cooper, director of the Health Care Financing Administration's Office of Strategic Planning; David Gross, senior policy adviser for the American Association of Retired Persons; Dr. Grant Lawless, chairman of the Biotechnology Medical Management Association;Dr. Meredith Matthews, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Premera; Kathy Means, chief health analyst for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance; Walter Moore, vice president of government affairs for Genentech; and Jorge Lopez, attorney with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

The annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is the world's largest exhibition of its kind. A record 5,000 company executives, scientists, investment experts and government officials from 40 nations are expected to attend. The conference will feature more than 125 presentations including developments in medical, agricultural and industrial biotechnology. More than 500 exhibitors also will display their most up-to-date product innovations.

A full program of BIO '99 symposia, presentations and events is available on BIO's website at BIO '99 will take place at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle.

Registration for credentialed press is complimentary. Free- lance journalists must submit an assignment letter from a publication. A fully operational press room with computers and Internet access will be available. To register contact BIO's Charles Craig at (202) 962-9200.