BIO, PhRMA Cite Concerns Over President’s FY 2015 Budget

The pharmaceutical industry weighed in on President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal, citing concerns over budget cuts to R&D spending and Medicare among chief issues.  

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood cited concerns over cuts in R&D spending, a reduction in the period for regulatory data protection, and reductions in Medicare spending. “Many of the provisions included in this budget proposal would jeopardize the continued biotech research and development that is necessary to find cures and breakthrough medicines for patients living with debilitating and life-threatening diseases,” said Greenwood in a press statement, who also called for a permanent R&D tax credit.    

“The Administration's proposal to reduce the period of regulatory data protection for innovative biologics manufacturers will discourage biotech innovation,” said Greenwood in a press statement. “The 12-year term of data protection for biologics included in the Affordable Care Act received widespread bipartisan support in the Congress during the consideration of the biosimilar pathway and is now settled US law. A reduction in this period will jeopardize the careful balance established in the law to reduce costs, expand access, and encourage continued innovation that will create good, high-paying biotech jobs and lead to breakthrough therapies and cures for deadly diseases.”

Greenwood also criticized cuts to Medicare spending. “We also oppose any cuts to Medicare Parts B and D. Medicare Parts B and D are both working well. Regarding Medicare Part B, this program is both saving money and ensuring access to important therapies in physicians' offices. As it relates to Part D, consumers are overwhelmingly pleased with this benefit, and private competition between various drug plans keeps costs down. We should not disrupt these successful programs by adding unnecessary changes.”

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John J. Castellani also raised concerns over the President’s budget proposal overall and with cuts in Medicare. “President Obama claims his budget invests in innovation and allows America to compete in the 21st century economy, when the reality is that his proposals undermine such efforts. This budget is damaging to patients, innovation, and our economy,” said Castellani in a press statement.

“A key problem is how the President's budget could dismantle Medicare Part D, which, to date, is a model of success. It has greatly improved seniors' access to medicines, held down premiums, achieved billions of dollars of savings on other Medicare costs by improving health, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars less than projected. Rather than embracing this rare, successful program, the President's budget unproductively pushes, yet again, previously rejected proposals that would hurt, not bolster, the program.

“Likewise, the President's budget would jeopardize medical advances and economic growth by reducing the incentives to invest in the development of new biologic medicines. Perplexingly, the President would undercut forward-looking incentives that were strongly bipartisan adopted in the House and Senate and continue to be supported today,” said Castellani. “The President's budget also proposes to restrict patent settlements that allow generics to reach the market before innovator patents expire. These settlements contain complex legal issues recently reviewed by the Supreme Court. The President's proposal to restrict such settlements creates an uncertain business environment and could lead to higher healthcare costs.”

Sources: BIO and PhRMA


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