The health care reform bill passed by the House of Representatives last night includes key provisions that provide real solutions for our nation’s health care challenges and real hope for patients living with debilitating diseases such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS and many rare diseases. These provisions will lead to new and improved treatments, cures, and cost-savings for patients, while driving job growth in our industry and maintaining our nation’s global leadership in biotechnology innovation.
The bill includes a historic provision which creates a pathway to enable the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve biosimilars. Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Joe Barton (R-TX) in the House, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy and others in the Senate, patients living with debilitating diseases will have expanded access to safe and effective cutting-edge medical therapies at lower costs. Additionally, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this provision will save patients tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. Moreover, this provision includes the incentives necessary to attract the massive investment required to speed the discovery and development of the next generation of breakthrough therapies and potential cures for the world’s most debilitating diseases. This language establishes equity with the Hatch-Waxman regime, which spurred the availability of the generics market for traditional pharmaceuticals, while bringing the same benefits of increased access, lower costs and expanded competition.
The bill also includes a critical provision that will provide some financial relief to research-intensive, small biotechnology companies that continue to suffer from tight credit markets. The Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit included in the bill will help offset a portion of the resources spent on therapeutic development activities, including hiring scientists and conducting clinical studies. The provision will help these companies continue their groundbreaking research that likely will lead to new therapies to treat patients living with chronic or acute diseases and help reduce long-term health care costs. This provision promises to save and create thousands of jobs across our nation.