Sharing Arizona Bioindustry News in Washington DC

AZBio delivered data on life-changing innovation and the economic impact of Arizona’s life sciences industry to Arizona’s Congressional Delegation last week in meetings with 10 of Arizona’s 11 Congressional offices. 

The week-long visit to our nation’s capitol also included meetings with our federal policy partners at AdvaMed and BIO as well as meetings with our innovation partners at key federal agencies and thought leaders from globally recognized research initiatives.

“In every meeting, one goal was consistently shared by AZBio, our partners, and our delegation.” stated AZBio president & CEO Joan Koerber-Walker. “We all agree with the goal to create the best possible health solutions for patients, families, and our country.  To achieve this goal,  we must communicate and work together.  As detailed data becomes available relating to the next stage of evolution for healthcare in the U.S., AZBio has offered to work with our Congressional teams in DC and at home in the districts to  support communication with our industry members and our communities.”

Tuesday February 28th was a big night in DC as President Donald Trump made his first address to the join sessions of Congress.   President Trump’s address included his five key priorities for replacing the current provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 

  1. “First, we should ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.”
  2.  “Secondly, we should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts— but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the government.”
  3.  “Thirdly, we should give our great state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out.”
  4. “Fourthly, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance — and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs, and bring them down immediately.”
  5. “Finally, the time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines — creating a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring cost way down and provide far better care.”

The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) issued the following statement from President and CEO Scott Whitaker prior to  President Trump’s  address:

“As the president outlines his plans to spur American job creation, we urge him to do one simple thing that will guarantee the growth of good-paying jobs in the U.S. – urge repeal of the medical device excise tax.

“The medical technology industry is a uniquely American success story, responsible for nearly two million high-tech, high-pay jobs in communities large and small in every state.

“But the industry’s potential for continued job creation and its ability to develop the next generation of life-changing advancements for patients is under threat by the continued existence of the medical device excise tax. While the current suspension of the tax is helpful, companies need the certainty of permanent repeal in order to invest long-term in R&D, capital improvements and hiring.

“The president and Congress need to do the right thing and permanently repeal this onerous tax.”

BIO’s Jim Greenwood also shared his thoughts prior to the presidential address.  The following is an excerpt:

“In the drug development sector alone, there are more than 1,500 innovative companies in the United States.  Collectively, these companies – large and small – invest more than $70 billion annually in U.S.-based biomedical research and development efforts. That’s more than twice the entire budget of the National Institutes of Health, which focuses mostly on basic medical research, not creating actual medicines.

Of the 5,400 clinical research programs currently being run worldwide, more than a third are targeting different forms of cancer and more than half are being led by U.S. companies. Additionally, more than 70 percent of medicines in the Food and Drug Administration pipeline right now are potential “first in class” therapies, meaning they represent an entirely new approach to treatment.

Imagine a day when we can treat cancer without piping an ounce of chemotherapy through a patient’s body. The science is unstoppable. Biotechnology is our future. The only thing that can stop us is bad policy that stifles investment and innovation.

Investors know biotech is an enormous risk, but they also know the reward for success will be commensurate with that risk. The American system is the global gold standard because we incentivize the massive risk-taking needed to make medicines that save lives. It takes our companies, on average, $2.6 billion in private investment and more than a decade to secure the approval of a new medicine.

There’s that old saying: You never want to see laws or sausage getting made. I would add medicine to the list. It’s a long, expensive process that ends in failure about 90 percent of the time. America’s entire biomedical innovation ecosystem is funded by the 10 percent of clinical programs that ultimately get approved. The profits from their success fund future research; no industry in America spends more on R&D.

It would be wonderful if President Trump said tonight that part of making America great again is protecting and empowering the declining number of American industries that are still global leaders. Biotechnology is at the top of that list. Our industry is growing jobs at a rate double the national average. We pay our people family-sustaining salaries well above the national average. And we give our world the best hope to overcome famine, pestilence and environmental damage.”

To view Jim’s full commentary, click here.

Posted in Advocacy and Regulations, AZBio News, Government Affairs Blog.