PhRMA Reacts to House Healthcare-Reform Bill

Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

On Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) expressed its disappointment with the US House of Representatives's healthcare-reform bill.

On Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) expressed its disappointment with the US House of Representatives’s healthcare-reform bill. “While well intentioned, the bill-as passed-would have the unintended consequences of killing tens of thousands of jobs in our industry at a time when the American economy is struggling and unemployment has soared above 10%,” said Ken Johnson, senior vice-president of PhRMA, in a press statement. The House passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) the day before.

PhRMA reiterated its commitment to helping President Obama and Congress pass a healthcare-reform law this year, despite its disagreement with some of the House bill’s provisions. “Everyone in America … should have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage and services,” said Johnson in the statement. “Done in a smart way, healthcare reform will benefit patients, the economy, and the future of our nation.” Successful healthcare reform will require all affected parties to sacrifice, “and we are prepared to do our part,” said Johnson in the statement.

PhRMA believes that the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare-reform bill is the best model for the legislation, but noted that Congress’s work on final legislation was not yet complete. “This is a three-act play, and a good critic doesn’t write a review after the opening scenes. We are still hopeful that before the curtain comes down on healthcare reform, the Senate will seriously consider the impact any final legislation will have on US jobs and innovation,” Johnson said in the statement.

Healthcare-reform legislation should support medical progress and innovation by providing “a fair period of data protection for innovative biologic medicines which hold the promise to revolutionize healthcare,” said Johnson in the statement. Appropriate data protection is critical to the development of new, life-saving medicines, he said.

The provisions of the Affordable Health Care for America Act that are of interest to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturers include the following:

• The establishment of a center for comparative-effectiveness research to investigate the outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of healthcare services
• A provision that a follow-on biologic cannot be approved until 12 years after the originator product was licensed
• A requirement that drugmakers offer rebates on the cost of prescription drugs
• A requirement that drugmakers file annual reports of their payments to physicians and other healthcare entities.

See related PharmTech articles:

Strutting and Fretting about Healthcare Reform (blog post)

DIY Healthcare Reform (PharmTech)

PhRMA Supports Obama’s Healthcare-Reform Initiative (ePT)