Our Top Three Requests of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional Leadership

At the 2019 Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) DC Fly-In more than 200 biotechnology and life science industry leaders from across the U.S. convened in the District of Columbia to meet with members of Congress and staff to discuss key legislative priorities important to our industry. Georgia Bio had the pleasure of meeting with our senators and representatives from Georgia to discuss policies that foster innovation, fuel investment and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit that has made America a leader in life sciences.

Top Three Asks Discussed During the BIO Fly-In

Drug Pricing: Ensuring Access to and Affordability of Innovation Medicines

BIO supports a holistic view of policies that affect every aspect of the American Patient experience through insurers, innovators, PBMs, Generics, distributors, hospitals, physicians and others. At the fly-in, Georgia Bio asked lawmakers to pursue policies that would protect patients from unaffordable Out-of-Pocket (OOP) costs and inappropriate restrictions on access to prescribed medicines. We seek to collectively reduce or eliminate market distortions that incentivize higher prices and higher spending to ensure the financial sustainability and patient affordability of public and private insurance systems.

Importance: Lower Georgia patients’ out-of-pocket costs and remove restrictions on patient access to care. Increase transparency for Georgia patients around out-of-pocket costs, rebates, and formulary decisions.

Medicare Part B: Preserve Market-based Reimbursement Structure

Stop the president’s risky Medicare experiment, called the International Pricing Index (IPI), which would import price controls from foreign, government-run healthcare systems like Greece and Slovakia. The IPI model is designed to test whether changing Part B drug reimbursement leads to improved quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries and reduced spending for the program. However, this foreign pricing system will greatly disrupt access to care and cutting-edge medicines that are truly life-saving while diminishing investment in innovation. For instance, preserving Medicare Part B will protect patients from: compromising on care due to their provider’s inability to obtain the most appropriate therapy, seeking care in a higher-cost setting that may be farther away and require them to switch providers, or forgo care entirely. The economics behind the model are hazy, and industry analysts are uncertain about its effectiveness. The plan does little to tackle the root cause of high pharmaceutical prices.

Importance: Medicare Part B is efficient as it leverages the power of private sector negotiations and avoids the costs of a bureaucratic administrative infrastructure. Preserving Medicare Part B helps ensure Georgia residents have adequate access to care and the state enjoys continued investment opportunities from industry.

Intellectual Property: Protect the Bedrock of American Innovation

Strong patents are the lifeblood of the biotechnology industry. They are critical to ensuring a steady stream of capital to companies developing innovative medicines, alternative energy sources, insect-resistant and drought-resistant crops. Compulsory licensing of a company’s intellectual property is dangerous and threatens the foundation of innovation in America. This proposal would allow the U.S. government broad authority to seize privately owned intellectual property, even if no government funds contributed to the innovation.

Most biotechnology companies are small businesses that have no products on the market, and thus their research and development activities are funded through massive amounts of private sector investment over years or even decades. Without strong, predictable and enforceable protections for patented inventions, investors will shy away from biotech innovation. This would degrade the ability to provide solutions to the most pressing medical, agricultural, industrial and environmental challenges.

Importance: Continue protecting intellectual property to allow Georgia companies to defend their inventions and businesses against infringement. Maintain investments in life-saving medicines and America’s leadership in innovation.

If you would like to know more about how Georgia Bio’s legislative affairs efforts, or have concerns you would like to convey, contact Joseph Santoro jsantoro@gabio.org or 404-334-7538.

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