BayBio Policy Corner for Friday, February 15, 2013

Assemblymember Kevin Mullin named Chair of Select Committee on Biotechnology
This week, Assemblymember Kevin Mullin (D- South San Francisco) was named Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles).  Mullin, who is a freshman this year representing the largest biotechnology cluster in the world, will succeed Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) in this role.  Hill, who was elected to represent the 13th Senate district, which overlays Mullin’s Assembly seat, used the select committee during his chairmanship to highlight the biomedical industry in the state through a series of on-site informational hearings in the Bay Area, San Diego, and Orange County.  BayBio has worked closely with Asm. Mullin in his prior role as Mayor of South San Francisco, and we look forward to working with him as he assumes this important role in Sacramento.

State Legislators Tour Bay Area Biotech Facilities
Last Thursday and Friday, the California Issues Forum hosted several members of the Mod Dem Caucus for a series of tours at Bay Area biotechnology companies and research institutes.  Moderate Democrats from both the California Assembly and Senate toured Amgen in South San Francisco, and the Gladstone Institutes and QB3 in Mission Bay.  Bay Area legislators in attendance included Asm. Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston), and Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo.)  These tours, along with accompanying presentations and discussions, provided legislators with an in-depth view of biotech and a greater understanding of the issues facing the industry.  BayBio was proud to host the breakfast plenary on Friday morning, and was joined by both the California Biotechnology Foundation and BIOCOM in sponsoring the two-day event.

President Highlights Biotechnology in State of the Union While Criticizing MediCare Part D
In the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Barack Obama cited the need to avoid the sequestration and the cuts to biomedical research, among other things, on Tuesday night.  BayBio applauds the President’s calls for increased STEM education and investment in innovation.  Our companies are doing the research and development that will lead to new clean energy technologies and increased understanding of diseases like Alzheimers.  In the same address, however, the President called for imposing price controls in the Medicare Part D program.  BayBio has grave concerns that efforts to modify the Part D program seek to address a problem that doesn’t exist, and threatens a program that has successfully delivered quality treatments to seniors while saving money for the federal government.  In fact, a recent study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office shows that Part D has been successful in both saving money for patients and lowering Medicare spending projections since its inception.  Enacting price controls on this successful program would increase costs for seniors and hamper the ability of our companies to invest in the research the President recognized as key to our nation’s ability to compete and innovate.

BayBio Joins Calls to Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board
BayBio has urged Congressional support for H.R. 351, the Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act, which would repeal the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  The IPAB, created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a Medicare cost-containment mechanism, will develop proposals that must be enacted unless Congress specifically addresses them with legislation that achieves the same savings.  This is an unprecedented transfer of significant health care payment and policy decision-making power from Congressional authority to an unelected, independent body exempt from judicial and legislative review.  BayBio is concerned that without the traditional range of oversight, the IPAB will not best serve our nation’s seniors and disabled individuals. BayBio’s letter of support for H.R. 351 can be found here.

Upcoming Events

  • The first BayBio Government Relations Committee call will be held next Friday, February 22nd.  If you are not currently a member of the committee and are interested in joining, please email Ritchard Engelhardt at
  • BayBio will travel to Washington, DC for the annual BIO fly-in on Capitol Hill March 12-13.  Participants will spend the day meeting with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss the most important legislative issues facing the biotechnology industry.  For more information or to register, please see .   If you have any questions, please contact Mallori Merandino at