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BIO Applauds Introduction of the Vaccine Access Improvement Act

February 9, 2018

Washington, DC (February 9, 2018) – – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) applauds Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) for introducing H.R. 4993, the Vaccine Access Improvement Act, which would promote timely access to new first-in-class childhood and maternal vaccines. The legislation would update the tax code to ensure new first-in-class vaccines are promptly covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).

The VICP was created by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 and serves as a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.  The program is funded by an excise tax paid by manufacturers on each vaccine. Under current law, new first-in-class vaccines may only be added to the program by changing the underlying tax statute to include the disease that the vaccine protects against. The Vaccine Access Improvement Act would streamline this process by giving the Secretary of Health and Human Services regulatory authority to add new eligible vaccines to the program once they have been approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC.

“Updating the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to allow for the prompt inclusion of new childhood and maternal vaccines is crucial to ensuring timely access to these life-saving preventative medicines,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “I commend Reps. Kelly and Higgins for their efforts to protect  our nation’s mothers and children.”

Over the years, vaccines have demonstrated tremendous societal value, responsible for saving more than 730,000 children over the past 20 years in the U.S. Furthermore, studies show that the vaccination of children born in the United States in 2009 is projected to generate $184 billion in lifetime social value – or about $45,000 per child.

As vaccines against diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of illness in children under one year of age, and Group B streptococcus (GBS), an infection that can be passed from mother to baby during birth, come closer to licensure, H.R. 4993 will ensure these life-saving innovations will reach the most vulnerable in a timely manner.

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