Biotech campaign supports further biologic drug development despite ongoing payer challenges
By: Ron Lanton, True North Political Solutions
This year’s BIO International Convention in San Francisco had its usual meetings and networking among those who manufacture, market, and invest in biologics. However, something new was addressed this year—dealing with political pressure regarding higher drug costs.
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In his keynote address, the organization’s president and CEO Jim Greenwood announced a new “Value Campaign” aimed at educating policymakers about the value of the drugs that are made by BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization) members. He also said the campaign is intended to correct misinformation in the media that is used by the insurance industry to target manufacturers and sway elected officials.
The Value Campaign is a new and proactive step for the organization and could help specialty pharmacy with reimbursement policy. To kick off the campaign, BIO released a video, Time is Precious, that focuses on how biologics give people more time. The organization plans to release many more ads like this as part of the campaign and is also encouraging others in the industry to join in the fight.
Before this bold move, BIO had been on the sidelines of the issue, allowing PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) to take the lead, but Greenwood made it clear that the time had come for change. “During this election season, our industry has become an easy scapegoat for the real and growing problem of patient access to affordable new medications. My friends, we are fighting back. Today we ask each of you to join this fight. Millions of patients are counting on us to deliver the next miracle drug. If our ability to innovate is extinguished, so is their hope.”
This discussion also highlights the contentious debate between payers and manufacturers over whether the high price tags of newer medications are justified. In fact, Greenwood called out the insurance industry for its part in contributing to the problem, but he went on to encourage cooperation within the medical community “At BIO, we’re committed to working with doctors, nurses, patient advocates, drug manufacturers, and insurers. We’re all in this together, and together, we will craft solutions that save and enhance patients’ lives.” Only time will tell what effects BIO’s Value Campaign may have on Congress, the news media, and the medical community. Hopefully, the results will be positive for everyone.
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