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House Tri-Committee Bill Would Hurt Patients and Kill Jobs

WASHINGTON, July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson released the following statement after the Energy and Commerce Committee mark-up of the House Tri-Committee bill:

"PhRMA remains committed to working with the Administration and Congress to help enact comprehensive health care reform this year. Our policy agreement with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, which provides $80 billion in meaningful cost-savings over 10 years, clearly demonstrates that commitment. We share the same goal of helping ensure that all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care coverage and services.

"We applaud members on the House Energy & Commerce Committee for passing a bipartisan biosimilars amendment that strikes an appropriate balance between the desire for enhanced competition and preserving incentives for innovation. Such incentives are vital for ensuring continued development of biologics that patients with complex diseases rely on today and will help to provide cures in the future. Recently, the Senate HELP Committee also agreed overwhelmingly to support this important provision.

"Unfortunately, the totality of the efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives, while well-intentioned, represents a step in the wrong direction in the health care reform debate.

"PhRMA opposes the House Tri-Committee bill because it undercuts the main goal of health care reform which is to help all Americans access needed healthcare coverage and services. The bill would effectively act as a tax increase by raising premiums for seniors in the popular Medicare prescription drug program, severely restrict patient access and choice and hurt an innovative sector that currently employs hundreds of thousands of workers. The result could mean significant job losses in the middle of a recession. In addition, the legislation allows broad override of protections for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by unelected officials, with no chance for review.

"Under the House bill, we're concerned that the federal government will wind up rationing health care and dictating what medicines doctors can prescribe to their patients. This may well prevent patients from gaining access to the critically important medicines they need to fight diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

"What's more, even the Congressional Budget Office has said that government negotiation of Medicare Part D prices would save little, if any, money.

"While we will continue to work toward supporting comprehensive health care reform, we will vigorously oppose legislation that hurts patients and the American economy."

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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