MBC Debuts 2009 Federal Policy White Paper at Policy Leadership Luncheon

January 28, 2009
Ensuring patient access to innovative new drugs and therapies that solve unmet medical needs should be the focus of President Barack Obama and the members of the 111th Congress as they consider health care reform, according to a Massachusetts Biotechnology Council white paper released at the annual Policy Leadership Luncheon.

"The ongoing needs of individuals struggling with disease are so important that we are making the patient community the prime focus of our organizational efforts in 2009," said MBC President and CEO Robert K. Coughlin. "We are mindful that we share this focus with our leaders in Washington, and we are compelled to work together for ultimate benefit of the patient population."

MBC released "Working Together Today to Ensure a Healthy Tomorrow," a federal policy white paper outlining key issues that will affect the biotechnology and life sciences sectors in the 2009 Congressional session.

Health care reform is among the 10 key impact issues discussed in the white paper, and is one of the MBC's top priorities for the 111th Congress. The MBC believes that a successful reformed system "should embrace and make accessible innovative medical technologies, incorporate best practices such as chronic disease management, and overhaul outdated payment methods," according to the federal policy agenda.

"President Barack Obama and the new Congress were swept into office by lifting hopes and promising change. Hope for change provides a source of courage for patients and inspiration for biotechnology workers each day as they face their respective challenges in seeking cures. Joining together, the President, Congress and members of the biotechnology community can set change in motion, and help put hope into action," Coughlin said.

Other key impact issues addressed in the white paper are:
  • Biosimilars
  • Support for stem cell research
  • Drug importation
  • SBIR eligibility
  • NIH funding increase
  • Strengthening FDA
  • Medicare and non-interference
  • Patent reform
  • Making R&D tax credits permanent and refundable
The annual Policy Leadership Luncheon serves to bring leaders from the biotechnology and life sciences industry together with policy makers. Speakers at the 2009 event included Lt. Governor Timothy P. Murray, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, Massachusetts State Representative and Co-Chair of the MA Legislative Biotechnology Caucus Michael Rodrigues, Cubist Pharmaceuticals CEO Michael Bonney, Wyeth Assistant Vice President for R&D and Regulatory Policy Jill Arent, and Merck Executive Director for World Wide Licensing and External Research Reid Leonard.
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