Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chamber to Testify on State Life Sciences Bills, Support Federal Bill

On October 4, the Chamber will submit testimony before the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of two bills that are important to sustaining the region’s life science leadership.

H. 1507 An Act related to improving health care quality and cost in the medical device industry will improve the Massachusetts Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacture's Code of Conduct or “gift ban” law – an effort the Chamber has championed since the regulations were first proposed in 2008. The need for reform in this area has become more acute in recent months given the detrimental impacts the regulation presents to the region’s life science and health care sectors, as well as the forthcoming pre-emption of sections of the law by federal “Sunshine Act” reporting requirements. The Chamber supports changes to the gift ban law in order to preserve collaboration and information-sharing between academic researchers and pharmaceutical, medical device, and health care industry professionals.

H. 2383, An Act relative to manufacturer rebates and discount programs will eliminate the Massachusetts-only ban on consumers using certain co-pay assistance programs to purchase prescription medications. Discount programs can take various forms, but all reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs, helping to expand access to medicines that their doctor has deemed medically necessary. In addition, discount programs can encourage adherence to medication regiments among patients, resulting in improved long-term health care outcomes. The Chamber supports the allowance of prescription discount programs in order to expand patient access to life saving treatments and medicines, many of which are developed right here in Massachusetts.

The Chamber is also supporting federal legislation called the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act which provides antibiotic development incentives designed to restore a robust innovation pipeline. The pipeline for new antibiotics has lagged as companies pursue potential blockbuster products for various chronic conditions that offer a large and growing market. As a result, there are few new antibiotics coming on line to treat a growing list of infections that are resistant to currently available treatments. This month, the Chamber has submitted a letter of support calling for the passage of the GAIN Act as a way to encourage innovation and the development of life-saving antibiotics, while addressing a public health threat for patients suffering from unmet medical needs.

Enactment of these proposals will help to promote collaborative research, medical education, product marketability, and patient access in Massachusetts world-renowned life science cluster.

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