BIO Says Maine Price Control Law Will Hurt Patients, Stifle Biotech Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 12, 2000) Carl B. Feldbaum,president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement concerning a Maine law that ultimately will result in price controls on drugs and biologics.

We are disappointed with Gov. Angus King and the Maine legislature for adopting a short-sighted statute that will only hurt patients and damage the state’s growing biotechnology industry.

Government price controls will ultimately reduce the number ofmedicines available to Maine patients and consequently lower the quality of health care in that state. This will have the greatest negative effect on the very senior citizens the bill purports to help.

These price controls also will negatively impact Maine’s biotech companies, which are part of an industry whose innovation has contributed the most to improve health in our nation. Price controls don’t work in a free economy. They discourage the private investment required to fund drug research and development. This was made clear during the 1993 national health-care reform debate when talk of price controls reduced investment in biotech companies and slowed efforts to bring new drugs to patients for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, heart disease and various cancers.

Improving patients’ access to drugs should focus on providing affordable drug coverage, not price controls.

BIO represents more than 900 biotechnology companies,academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural and environmental biotechnology products.