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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Biocom’s Federal Policy Priorities during the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • 2020-04-23T15:00:00.000+0000
  • Washington DC
  • Author: Laure Fabrega

While the House and Senate are in recess, Biocom has been active identifying priorities that our members want to see included in future covid-19 aid legislation or executive action. Please reach out to Laure Fabrega, Biocom’s Director of Federal Policy and Government Affairs at lfabrega@biocom.org to let us know of additional priorities.

– Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program
We have advocated to have more funding appropriated for the programs in the next emergency supplemental legislation. PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide eligible applicants funding to retain their employees and pay themselves as business owners. The CARES Act also expanded the EIDL program allowing small businesses to receive an advance of up to $10,000 and bridge funding during the time they are shut down to pay their expenses. Both programs ran out of funding last week. Congress approved additional funding this week. Click here to learn more.

– Small Business Administration (SBA) Affiliation
We are advocating for language to clarify that small businesses with equity investors will be eligible for PPP loans. Without clear guidance, small businesses with equity investment – which is the case for most startups- may be rendered ineligible for emergency relief funding and have to lay off workers and shut down critical research.

– Priority Review Voucher Program Reauthorization
We are advocating for the inclusion of H.R. 4439 to reauthorize the Priority Review Voucher (PRV) program for rare pediatric diseases in future supplemental measures. The vouchers have been created in 2012 to incentivize the development of therapies for rare pediatric diseases. The bill would make the vouchers permanent. The program is set to expire in September 2020.

We are advocating for the inclusion of H.R. 4100, the DISARM (Developing an Innovative Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms) Act in future supplemental measures. The bill encourages the development and use of antimicrobial drugs and has been an industry priority for years. Antibiotics are needed to protect COVID-19 patients who have weakened immune systems and are therefore at risk for secondary bacterial infections, in addition to countless patients fighting infection or undergoing surgery.

– Home infusion
We are urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can received Part B infused drugs in the home setting, instead of having to go to a hospital during the covid-19 pandemic. Patients receiving infused drugs are already very vulnerable and cannot afford to forego treatment or risk contamination.

– Buy American
We continue to urge the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) to exclude the life science sector from a potential “Buy American” executive order, which could delay the development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, and worsen shortages of critically-needed medicines. Indeed, our industry needs access to international supply chains as the U.S. does not produce all of the raw materials and intermediate goods needed for the development of life science products.