Last-ditch lobbying battle over biotech drugs
Alan Fram, Associated Press, 14 January 2010
Biotech drugs, made from living matter and used to treat diseases from cancer to diabetes, have been a growing portion of the pharmaceutical market and are seen as key to the industry's future. The House- and Senate-passed bills reshaping the nation's health care system would both grant biotech producers 12 years of protection against lower-cost generic competitors.
Yet with White House and congressional bargainers moving toward a final health bill, Obama and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are trying to reduce the curbs against competition to 10 years or less. The effort was described by industry and congressional officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.
Obama met privately with House Democrats Thursday and was told by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., that he should support the 12-year period since the House and Senate both voted for it, participants said. Obama responded that he disagreed with that figure, they said.