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Public Policy Newsletter Article

Life Science Companies Respond to COVID-19 but are Facing Battles in the Capital

  • 2021-05-20T15:00:00.000+0000
  • Author: Megan Waddell

With warmer weather on the horizon, many Californians are eager to understand what the restrictions will be on summer activities. We’ve seen promising news from around the state as more counties move into the least restrictive yellow reopening tier, allowing many businesses to increase capacity and opening doors for other types of gatherings. The CDC announced last week that fully vaccinated people can go mask-free in most settings and California state health officials have indicated that the state will adopt those guidelines beginning June 15. See the list of counties moving into the yellow tier here and what we know so far.

Governor Newsom announced his May Revision to the state budget including his $100B “California Comeback” plan aimed to support Californians through tax credits, stimulus checks, and assistance programs.

In federal news, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on H.R.3, the drug pricing measure, and the issue continues to receive strong opposition from patient advocacy groups and the life science industry. Our team is working diligently to connect with federal lawmakers on the dangers of this bill that would decimate the development of new treatments. Learn more about the measure here.

In a departure from traditional US trade protection policy, the White House has decided to support waiving IP rights for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Following this announcement, Biocom California released a statement in opposition of this decision, citing a dangerous precedent that would undermine future pandemic response and remove incentives for innovation.

Extended dry conditions and low snowpack led Governor Newsom to sign an executive order declaring a drought emergency throughout the state, including in Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties. Learn more about the actions water agencies are recommending here.

Finally, in a major milestone for San Diego, the California Coastal Commission has approved the city’s plan to provide ongoing clearing of storm channels, which is critical in reducing flooding risks. Biocom California has long supported efforts to address flooding issues that our members in Sorrento Valley have been affected by for many years.