BIO Welcomes Opening Of New Bipartisan Discussions On Drug Coverage For Medicare Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 15, 2001) -- Carl B. Feldbaum,president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement today on the opening of bipartisan discussions in the U.S. House and Senate concerning Medicare reform.

“Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) along with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and his health subcommittee chairman, Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.), today launched discussions on modernization of Medicare,” Feldbaum said. “We and the rest of the nation hope these talks will lead to a bipartisan plan for Medicare reform and expansion of affordable access to prescription drug coverage for senior citizens.

“BIO looks forward to working with the 107th Congress and theWhite House on these critical issues. BIO has consistently advocated ensuring that seniors have affordable private-sector drug coverage and stop-loss benefits to limit their out-of-pocket expenses when they are sickest and their medical costs are the highest. These are two of six key principles BIO adopted at the beginning of the Medicare reform debate to guide the biotech industry’s evaluation of proposed legislation.

“We urge Congress and the White House to consider Medicarereform legislation that encourages, rather than discourages innovative development of biotech medicines. U.S. biotech companies lead the world in development of the most advanced medicines for age-related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes and osteoporosis. This research is essential not only to improve the health and quality of life of seniors citizens, but also to reduce overall health-care costs.”

BIO’s position on Medicare reform, including the six principlesadopted by BIO’s board of directors for evaluating proposed legislation, is posted on the organization’s Web Site in the Issues and Policy’s section under Medicare Modernization (

BIO represents more than 940 biotechnology companies,academic institutions and state biotech centers in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. Its members are involved in the research and development of health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.