Nearly one in 10 Pennsylvanians is living with diabetes, and more than 70,000 Pennsylvanians were diagnosed with cancer in 2008 alone. Many of these patients look to cutting-edge biotech medicines to improve their quality of life and give them hope for the future. Patients suffering from previously untreatable conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and HIV/AIDS have also had their lives improved and extended by biologics, which are complex proteins produced by living cells that have been custom designed using newly acquired understanding of human genetics and DNA.
Health-care reform bills being considered in the U.S. House and Senate would expand access to these powerful medicines by creating a pathway for regulatory approval of biosimilars -- medicines that seek to imitate innovator biologics.
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have respected legislators working to ensure that this legislation also spurs continued biomedical breakthroughs. Sen. Robert Casey and Reps. Mike Doyle, Tim Murphy and Joe Pitts demonstrated their commitment to the search for new biomedical advancements by voting to support 12 years of data exclusivity for innovator biotech companies. During that period, biologics developers have exclusive rights to their proprietary safety and efficacy data before the Food and Drug Administration could use it to approve a competitor's product. This allows companies to recoup their research and development investments and reinvest in the development of new therapies while allowing the development of competitive products.
Thanks to the leadership of the Pennsylvania delegation, we are confident that Congress will adopt a pathway for biosimilars that will expand access to lifesaving medicines, protect patient safety and promote further biomedical innovation.
DENNIS M. "MICKEY" FLYNN
President & CEO
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations; Pennsylvania BIO is a statewide trade association.