PhRMA Statement on House Passage of Health Care Reform Bill
Washington, D.C. (November 7, 2009) - Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Ken Johnson released the following statement regarding the House health care reform bill:
"We are disappointed, but not surprised by today's vote - an uneasiness echoed by millions of hardworking Americans as well as nearly half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who voted against the bill.
"While well intentioned, the bill - as passed - would have the unintended consequences of killing tens of thousands of jobs in our industry at a time when the American economy is struggling and unemployment has soared above 10 percent. This is absolutely the worst time to be putting additional strains on the economy with punishing job losses.
"Despite the shortcomings in the House legislation, we remain completely committed to helping the President and Congress pass comprehensive health care reform this year. We continue to be guided by a single-minded purpose: everyone in America - not just some of us, but all of us - should have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage and services. Done in a smart way, health care reform will benefit patients, the economy and the future of our nation.
"From the beginning, we knew that this would be a long, contentious and oftentimes difficult process, but if health care reform is to be successful, it will require a shared sacrifice - and we are prepared to do our part. We remain convinced that the approach taken by the Senate Finance Committee provides the best blueprint for comprehensive reform. As an editorial in today's Washington Post pointed out, ‘The House will probably pass the bill. But there there's a lot of work to be done before its final enactment will be possible - or desirable.'
"That's our take, too. This is a three-act play and a good critic doesn't write a review after the opening scenes. We are still hopeful that before the curtain comes down on health care reform, the Senate will seriously consider the impact any final legislation will have on U.S. jobs and innovation. Cutting-edge medicines have dramatically increased life expectancy rates in America and around the world and have allowed patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other devastating chronic diseases to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
"If we are going to cure cancer in our lifetime - as President Obama has challenged us to do - we believe health care reform must support medical progress and innovation in America. Saving money is important, but so is saving lives. In the end, we believe that thoughtful leaders will step up and recognize the overriding importance of striking the right balance. Among other things, we believe final health care reform legislation should provide for a fair period of data protection for innovative biologic medicines which hold the promise to revolutionize health care.
"What's crucial now is that we remain focused on the laudable goal of enacting comprehensive health care reform this year. In life, we get precious few opportunities to fundamentally improve the lives of people all across our great nation. Working together, this is our chance."