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BIOCOM Response to Health Portion of President's Speech at George Washington University

SAN DIEGO, April 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a speech delivered Wednesday, President Obama outlined a framework for addressing the federal deficit.  Among other issues addressed, the President discussed Medicare and his proposals to decrease its cost.  According to the President, one of his proposals is to "speed generic brands of medicine onto the market."  Many observers believe this was a reference to his continued call to reduce the length of non-patent data exclusivity for new drugs and biologics. "It is unfortunate that the President, who has repeatedly expressed a commitment to biomedical research and the innovation economy, may hinder both by his proposed actions. The Administration apparently fails to recognize in its framework that, absent strong patent protection and adequate data exclusivity provisions for the clinical trial data that cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, research will not automatically result in commercialization of products," said Joe Panetta, President and CEO of BIOCOM.

"Promising biomedical research that does not ultimately reach the patient in the form of new therapies or devices does an injustice to the American taxpayer, as well as patients," Panetta said. "In passing his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, Congress already overwhelmingly rejected the President's attempts to shorten data exclusivity provisions, recognizing that his proposal would be adverse to the development of important new therapies.  Exciting work in fatal (e.g. cancer) and chronic (e.g. Alzheimer's) diseases would be shelved because the tremendous cost of development would not be recouped.  It is unfortunate the President continues to revisit this issue," Panetta said.

In his remarks, the President also called for expansion of powers for the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  "This unelected Board, unaccountable to the American people, can already make wholesale changes to Medicare and the President and Congress have an extremely limited ability to intervene," continued Panetta.  "Any further expansion of the IPAB will fundamentally interfere with a physician's ability to determine what is best for the patient, or for physicians, hospitals, or drug and device manufacturers to have input on fair and reasonable reimbursement. The life sciences industry will already be contributing a great deal to health reform, well over $100 billion by some estimations.  Given that many studies place the prescription drug and prescription medical device industries combined as less than 15% of the total health care dollar, the industry already is being a responsible partner in doing its share.  Several lawmakers have already weighed in with their concerns about the expansion of powers of IPAB, and BIOCOM echoes those concerns."

About BIOCOM: BIOCOM is the largest regional life science association in the world, representing more than 550 member companies in Southern California. The association focuses on initiatives that positively influence the region's life science community in the development and delivery of innovative products that improve health and quality of life. This includes initiatives in capital formation, public policy, workforce development, group purchasing and member services such as networking events. For more information on BIOCOM or the Southern California biotechnology and medical device community, please visit

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