President's Medicare Proposal Could Be Key to Both Seniors' and Biotechnology Industry's Health

(WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 26, 1999)--Anticipating President Clinton's announcement of a plan for a drug benefit for the nation's medicare program this Tuesday, Carl B. Feldbaum, President of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, issued the following statement:

"From our discussion with key people at the White House last week, we expect that President Clinton's medicare proposal for a new drug benefit will be far-reaching in its implications for both seniors and biotechnology, and nuanced in its blend of policy and politics."

"It is clear that certain provisions are not yet set in concrete, much less in granite even today. But when the President's proposals are outlined on Tuesday we expect to have further comment."

"Biotechnology companies have a proven track record in developing new drugs and vaccines for life-threatening diseases. Many of these such as heart disease, various cancers, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, strike our older citizens more than any other group. More than biotech 300 drugs are currently in clinical trials today. Bringing them to market and to patients now and in the future will require millions of dollars in private investment."

BIO represents more than 850 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and state biotechnology centers in 47 state and 26 nations.