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Public Policy Newsletter Article

COVID-19 Continues to Dominate Policy Landscape

  • 2020-05-21T15:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Jimmy Jackson

With the stroke of Governor Newsom’s pen, California largely shut down and sheltered in place on March 19. Californians overwhelmingly adapted and stayed at home. Although it took longer to achieve clarifications than it should have, through the efforts of Biocom and its strategic partners most life science companies were able to maintain at least some portion of operations as essential workplaces. And now, two months later, having avoided the gravest of projections for mortality and overtaxing of our state’s health systems by our actions, we are beginning to see California emerge from the shutdown at a dizzying pace. Regional governments are often making daily and sometimes hourly updates to their public health orders. Biocom’s Policy Team is working overtime to make sure our members have the best and most relevant information to scale up operations.

In late April, Governor Newsom unveiled a four phase plan to get the state back on track, and subsequently released criteria (since modified) whereby individual counties could petition to accelerate through phase two based on meeting specific criteria. This is important because this allows most office work to return under modified conditions (although telework is still encouraged). Since that announcement last week, 39 of California’s 53 counties have successfully petitioned the state to accelerate their reopenings. Significant among these for the life science community are the counties of San Diego, Ventura, and Sacramento.

Much notable action important to Biocom members related to COVID-19 has also happened in Washington DC. This week, the FDA released new and modified guidances related to developing new drugs or biologics for COVID-19 as well as conducting clinical trials during this time of public emergency. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration launched a program to advance COVID-19 countermeasures and Congress continues to negotiate the next efforts in the recovery at the federal level after the House recently passed a fourth coronavirus aid legislation, which the Senate is categorically opposed to voting on.

As critical developments occur, we make every effort to update the Biocom Coronavirus Resource Page in a timely manner. As always, please feel free to contact the relevant Biocom policy staff member if you have pressing questions.

Brittany Blocker – Manager of Regulatory Affairs, Washington D.C.
Emily Cassel – Associate Manager of Government Affairs & Events
Melanie Cohn – Director of Regional Policy & Government Affairs
Laure Fabrega – Director of Federal Policy & Government Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Jimmy Jackson – Senior Vice President & Chief Policy Officer