Advocacy

Advocacy Overview

Public policy plays a critical role in the success of the bioscience industry. BioForward works actively to:

  • Help shape state and federal policy
  • Be a positive voice that works to educate our legislators and the public on critical bioscience issues
  • Educate our members on public policy issues, and on how they can make their own voice heard
  • Monitor legislation and make our members aware of legislation that will affect their companies and our industry

April 2017 Advocacy Updates

State Advocacy Update

  • BioForward and Cures for Tomorrow Work to Preserve Research in Wisconsin

BioForward is a member of the Cures for Tomorrow Coalition – a coalition of Wisconsin academic research institutions, bioscience-related trade groups and health care providers. The coalition supports and advocates for biomedical research in Wisconsin and is committed to educating the public about the value of biomedical research to patients and the state.  Members of the Coalition include BioForward, the Medical College of Wisconsin, UW Health, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Cures for Tomorrow engages with the Wisconsin legislature on any legislation that could impact or restrict the research that is permitted to be conducted in the State of Wisconsin.  Legislation that would ban the use of fetal cells in research in Wisconsin has been drafted and has circulated for co-sponsorship, but as of the time of this writing, it had not yet been introduced.

Research using fetal cells and tissue is already heavily regulated by federal law and the policies of our member research institutions. Profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, for example, has been a federal crime for more than two decades. Cures for Tomorrow members strongly oppose profiting from the sale of fetal tissue but do not believe that any additional regulation by the State of Wisconsin is needed.

BioFoward and Cures for Tomorrow works to educate the members of the Wisconsin State Legislature and others about the life-saving research that is being done in the State of Wisconsin.  For more information about Cures for Tomorrow, go to www.curesfortomorrow.org.

  • JFC Begins 2017-19 Biennial Budget Bill Review

Governor Scott Walker’s proposed biennial budget has been introduced and is in the process of being review by the State Legislature.  The Joint Committee on Finance has completed its state agency briefings on the Governor’s 2017-19 biennial budget bill and held public hearings across the state on the Governor’s proposed state budget.

The Committee will start voting on the budget provisions the first week in May and will continue through the early part of June.  The goal is complete the budget process before the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, 2017.

Federal Advocacy Update

  • Supported passage of the 21st Century Cures Act that contained funding for the NIH and Next Generation Researchers. Passed in both the House and Senate January 2017
    • BioForward held meetings during the BIO Fly-In with federal legislators reinforcing our research institutions and industry’s dependence upon full appropriations to NIH, BARDA, and Project BioShield. President Trump had recommended a $6b decrease in NIH funding
    • NIH spurs key basic discovery in an era of genomic health and personalized medicine. BioForward supports increased resources for NIH and opposes cuts to its budget
  • Supported Representative Ron Kind’s sponsorship of the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017 that would repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax.

        Op-ed written by Advamed and BioForward on the repeal of the Medical Device Excise Tax.

  • Supporting passage of negotiated FDA User Fee Agreements-Medical Devices and Prescription Drugs (MDUFA and PDUFA)

. Passage of these fee agreements will provide the FDA with the resources needed to advance modern, patient-focused drug development and medical device approaches

  • Oppose changes to the Medicare Part B Drug Program.

Medicare Part B coverage and payment supports access to critical medicines and specialist physicians relied on by the most vulnerable and sickest patients

  • Oppose changes to Medicare Part D Drug Program.

Medicare Part D ensures that seniors have access to a broad choice of retail drugs and its structure keeps overall costs to beneficiaries and the government down. 90% of beneficiaries are satisfied with the program

  • BIO Fly-In.

BioForward participated with BIO and other state associations for a legislative day April 2017, Washington D.C. We met with Wisconsin congressional offices focusing on biohealth issues such as NIH and FDA funding support, protecting Medicare Part D, medical device tax, targeting abuses of U.S. patent system, and support to the Fostering Innovation Act.

Recent Updates:

December 7th: Senate and House Pass 21st Century Cures Act 

The Senate passed the 21st Century Cures act on Wednesday, sending it to the desk of President Barack Obama, who says he will sign it. The $6.3 billion legislation easily passed the Senate in a vote of 94-5 and the House in a vote of 392-26.

BioForward is very proud to have been an engaged advocate for the Act, working closely with BIO, AdvaMed, and PhRMA to ensure biohealth advances continue.

Click Here to read the full update:

November 16th: Wisconsin State and Federal Races Post-Election Update

The November 8, 2016 election saw Republicans increase their majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Republicans in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate have selected their leadership for the new legislative session that begins January 3rd. Also at the federal level Wisconsin became a “red” state at the top of the ticket for the first time since 1984 with a win for Donald Trump.

Click Here to read the full update including info on:

June 2016

May 2016

  • S.1890 Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016.  Read more..https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/defend-trade-secrets-act-passes
  • Fostering Innovation Act: The JOBS Act provides emerging growth companies (EGCs) with a five-year exemption from Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), which requires a costly external attestation of a company’s internal financial controls. The Fostering Innovation Act would extend the JOBS Act’s SOX 404(b) exemption for an additional five years for former EGCs that maintain a public float below $700 million and average annual revenues below $50 million. The additional five years of cost-savings would allow growing companies to focus their capital on groundbreaking R&D rather than one-size-fits-all regulatory burdens. Read more here: https://www.bio.org/press-release/bio-applauds-house-passage-fostering-innovation-act 

April 2016 

  • Support full appropriations for NIH, BioShield SRF & CARB Initiative. NIH spurs key discovery in an era of genomic health and personalized medicine. We support a budget of at least $34.5b and oppose additional cuts. Full appropriations are needed to BARDA, Project BioShield and CARB Initiative to spur discovery and development of products designed to battle emerging security threats. We praise the House of Representative’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act read more.. http://www.phrma.org/media-releases/phrma-statement-on-house-passage-of-21st-century-cures-act 
  • Target Abuses of the US Patent System While Protecting Innovation. BioForward supports a measured, thoughtful approach to patent litigation reform. Halt abuses of the IPR process, an administrative patent challenge, is a top priority but strong intellectual property protection is the lifeblood of the biotech industry. Strong patent protection is critical. We urge Congress to proceed thoughtfully and deliberately on patent reform litigation
  • Opposed CMS’s recently proposed Part B Drug Payment Model which threatens patient access to needed therapies; especially in rural areas and/or by community-based providers by slashing reimbursement rates to effectively ASP+0%. Read BIO’s position pape: https://www.bio.org/sites/default/files/BIO_Comments_Part_B_Proposed_Rule_May92016.pdf
  • Breakway Pathway Legislation Introduced. This bi-partisan legislation streamlines CMS’s coverage and reimbursement process for innovative medical technologies. Read more.. http://advamed.org/news/209/advamed-commends-house-legislation-to-streamline-cmss-process-for-breakthrough-technologies

March 2016 

https://pocan.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/pocan-introduces-next-generation-researchers-act

January 2016 Update on AB 305 / SB 260

  • BioForward and our member companies support and value the ongoing development of lifesaving research at UW-Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and other institutions across our state. Our companies are the link between academic research and the therapies that are available to patients and families struggling with health issues or injuries. Accordingly, we are working with our colleagues from these research institutions and the Wisconsin Legislature to protect research in Wisconsin that utilizes fetal tissue.Under currently proposed legislation, in the State of Wisconsin, it would be a felony to use ANY fetal cells, fetal cell lines, or fetal tissues for research under all circumstances if those cells were obtained after January 1, 2015.The sale of fetal tissue is already illegal under federal law. We strongly support that prohibition and our research institutions abide by that prohibition. The bills currently being considered, AB 305/SB 260, go much further. If this legislation passes, we are closing the door on any future research that would be used to develop vaccines, therapies, and other medical innovations.For more information about this legislation and the Cures for Tomorrow coalition fighting to preserve research in Wisconsin, go to www.curesfortomorrow.org.

July 2015

BIOFORWARD FEDERAL CALL TO ACTION: Protect Innovation – Repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax

September 2015

BioForward Response to AB 305
BIO Response to Wisconsin Assembly Bill 305
Launch of Wisconsin Economic Development Report

December 2015

Support swells for vital university research using fetal tissue and cells

AdvaMed, MITA & MDMA Applaud Congress for Passage of the Medical Device Tax Suspension

Member Testimonials:

"BioForward does a masterful job of protecting our policy interests and promoting a positive legislative environment for life sciences companies. Sanofi greatly appreciates BioForward’s great work at the Capitol in Madison and on the Hill in DC."

-Russ Sobotta, Director, State Govt. Affairs at Sanofi, U.S.

"Our partnership with BioForward is essential to ensuring public policy keeps pace with medical technology innovation in Wisconsin. BioForward’s leadership has laid the foundation for the state’s current, robust medtech industry and has Wisconsin well-positioned for continued growth."

-Brian O’Connor, VP Alliance Development at AdvaMed

"BioForward has been an important part of my professional life since starting Anteco Pharma in 2004. The organization has given me the opportunity to keep up to date with the biotechnology and medical industries through conferences, speakers and regular on-line postings / e-mails. I have also benefited from and participated in legislative advocacy of issues vital to me and my business. Most important, however, has been the opportunity to network with individuals in the larger biotech community who have positively affected the success of my business and my personal life."

-Howard Teeter, President – Anteco Pharma

“BioForward connects a crucial segment of our state’s economy - companies interested in advancing global health. They bring value to members by providing industry perspective, legislative momentum and a forum for innovation.”

-Cynthia LaConte, CEO of The Dohmen Company

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