BIO Urges Senate Committee on Finance Not to Limit Patients’ Access to Therapies

S. 3 Would Weaken Medicare Part D Drug Benefit</p>

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 12, 2007) –The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) opposes the Chairman’s Mark to the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007 (S. 3) which is being considered by the Senate Committee on Finance today.

The Chairman’s Mark to S. 3 repeals the language in the Medicare Modernization Act which prohibits the federal government from interfering with the negotiations between drug manufacturers, pharmacies and plan sponsors and replaces it with a requirement to interfere in this process.  These negotiations are currently conducted between Medicare prescription drug plans and manufacturers.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported earlier this year that these private sector negotiations resulted in an additional $113 billion reduction in the estimated cost of the Part D program, and the actuaries found that $96 billion in reductions was due to competition. 

“The Medicare Part D program is working well.  An overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are satisfied with the benefit,” stated BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.  “In order to reduce costs, the federal government would have to make ‘one size fits all’ clinical decisions regarding innovative medicines for all Medicare beneficiaries.  This would ultimately restrict access to important therapies and limit the ability of individual patients and their doctors to choose the best treatment options.”

BIO also expressed concerns about the provision in the Chairman’s Mark regarding comparative effectiveness. 

“Increasing the availability of accurate, scientific evidence to help patients and their doctors make informed clinical decisions is a goal we all share.  Patients benefit when their doctors have access to the most recent scientifically valid information,” said Greenwood.  “But comparative effectiveness should not be used as a means to contain costs and restrict access.  BIO opposes this provision in the Mark, because of its mandate to use comparative effectiveness studies as a basis for coverage of a therapy.  This would lead to formulary decisions that ignore the variability among individual Medicare patients and in some cases deny them access to the therapies that best meet their clinical needs.”

BIO’s letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance is available at