Science & Technology



With November election looming, San Diego's biotech community eyes policy issues

By Jonathan Wosen, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Science & Technology News

SAN DIEGO - Test tubes and beakers don't care what laws politicians pass, but biotech execs sure do.

The life sciences have always been shaped by policy. Biotech companies from San Diego to San Francisco to Boston look to local, state and federal lawmakers to ensure that they have space to expand and funding to buoy their research.

It's why Biocom, a California life science trade group based in San Diego, keeps an office in Washington D.C. - and why the organization held a forum last week with San Diego's mayoral candidates.

With an election looming, many long-running issues for the biotech community have taken on fresh urgency. Here are a few topics that have fueled recent debates, from drug pricing to the merits of funding stem cell research.

Drug pricing

On Sept. 13, President Trump issued an executive order designed to ensure that Medicare pay no more for prescription drugs than other developed countries, where prices are usually lower than in the U.S.


"It is unacceptable that Americans pay more for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same places," read the order.

The president had threatened to sign an executive order calling for this policy, known as international reference pricing, earlier in the summer but held off initially.

It didn't take long for Biocom to respond to the announcement.

"On behalf of California's life sciences community, we are deeply disappointed in the executive order issued by the Trump Administration," said the organization in a prepared statement. "California, which is one of the world's leaders in biomedical innovation, would be among the first to suffer."


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