New York State Biotechnology Industry Opposed to State Restrictions on Medicaid Drugs

Medicaid Cost Containment Schemes Could Deny Patients

Access to Biopharmaceuticals Discovered in New York,

Negate Biotech Development Efforts

ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA) today announced that the Medicaid cost-cutting concepts being considered today by the state Assembly Committee on Health public hearing in Albany could impact patient health and severely damage efforts to develop New York state's rapidly growing biotechnology industry.

"NYBA and New York have been good partners in promoting biotech development for the state," said Ron Cohen, MD, President and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics, a New York based company that is a leader in developing therapies to repair spinal cord injuries. Dr. Cohen also serves as Chairman of the Board of NYBA. "Initiatives like the Qualifying Emerging Technology Credits (QETC), the Centers for Excellence, and the Gen*NY*sis Plan designed to create thousands of lifesciences jobs across the Empire State are examples of how the state government and our industry have worked together to establish New York as a major biotechnology cluster. However, pursuing policies that restrict access to prescription drugs could counteract the state's initiative to enhance New York's biotechnology industry."

A primary mission of New York biotech companies is finding cures for unresolved diseases, and then ensuring that patients can access those products. Karin A. Duncker, Executive Director of the New York Biotechnology Association, which represents 260 New York based bioscience companies, world- class research institutes, and related professional organizations, stated, "Restricting access to the new drugs of the biotechnology revolution is not wise public policy." Duncker continued, "To deny New York Medicaid patients access to the innovative biotech drugs that are being produced here in New York would thoughtlessly penalize patients who have no other medical options."

In an effort to contain healthcare expenditures, New York State is currently reviewing restrictive Medicaid drug programs that are currently in place in Oregon, Michigan and Florida. One concept that New York State is considering is development of a "preferred drug list" and/or the expansion of prior authorization to innovator drugs that is based on "evidence-based" drug evaluation.

Under "evidence-based" drug evaluation, products are "evaluated" based on published studies that are available on each drug. A state-appointed review board of providers then determines which drug from each therapeutic class is the most cost-effective. Through "evidence-based" drug evaluation, "preferred drugs" are selected for a Medicaid formulary. Several members of New York's biotech community believe that this concept is flawed and would be particularly damaging to an industry that is based on producing new and innovative drug therapies.

"For New York's new biopharmaceuticals, there is little or no published data to be used as 'evidence' in a state's drug evaluation process," said Thomas E. D'Ambra, PhD., Chairman and CEO of Albany Molecular Research, Inc. "If New York state were to adopt a policy of restricting access to today's most advanced biopharmaceuticals, including those developed here in New York state, the effects on not only the patient, but on our industry, could be extremely damaging. Cost-cutting schemes like 'preferred drug' lists are nothing more than a barrier to innovation. By adopting these kinds of policies, New York State could substantially impair all that it has strived to achieve in its efforts to become a biotech leader."

NYBA along with leaders of New York's premier biotechnology companies urge New York state policy makers to reject pharmaceutical price controls and access restrictions and continue efforts to support research and development of tomorrow's life saving therapies.

The New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA), based in New York, N.Y. is a not-for-profit trade association, representing 260 New York based bioscience companies, world class research institutes, and related professional organizations, dedicated to the development and growth of New York State based biotechnology related industries and institutions, and to strengthening the competitiveness of New York state as a premier global location for biotechnology/biomedical research, education and industry.

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc., based in Hawthorne, N.Y., is a privately held biotechnology company, developing therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI) and related neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Albany Molecular Research, Inc., based in Albany, N.Y., is a leading research, drug discovery and development company built on a chemistry platform of comprehensive and integrated technologies, resources and capabilities. The company conducts pharmaceutical research and development with many leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and for its own internal discovery programs.

SOURCE New York Biotechnology Association

CO: New York Biotechnology Association; NYBA; Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.; Albany Molecular Research, Inc.