Medicare, jobs and our industry

A new report underscores a tie between the health of the biopharmaceutical industry and the American economy that must be considered as our nation’s leaders negotiate an important agreement on the debt ceiling in the coming days.

The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice report estimates that a $20 billion per year reduction in biopharmaceutical sector revenue would result in 260,000 job losses.

According to the research:

Nationwide, the sector supported a total of 4 million jobs in 2009, including 674,192 direct jobs.

1. Each job in a biopharmaceutical research company supported almost 6 additional jobs in other sectors in 2009.

2. Every $1 in output generated by the biopharmaceutical sector generates another $1.4 in output in other areas of the economy due to the high value‐added nature of the sector, its extensive supply chain relationships, and high wage paying jobs.

3. The biopharmaceutical sector generated nearly $33 billion in state and local tax revenue and more than $52 billion in federal tax revenues in 2009.

This data on the industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy comes on the heels of the latest unemployment numbers and conversations on the hill that could have significant impact on biopharmaceutical research.

For example, the President and some in Congress have proposed including government-mandated rebates in Medicare Part D as part of a debt ceiling agreement. Imposing price controls in the Medicare Part D program is bad for patients and bad for business.

Policies that implement price controls in the Medicare prescription drug benefit will risk raising health care costs and reducing seniors’ access to critical prescription drugs. These policies would require our industry to pay even greater rebates to the government for our medicines that are available through Medicare Part D, and could lead to unintended consequences on the economy.

John J. Castellani, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said, “At a time when the U.S. is facing a jobs crisis, evidenced by the terrible employment numbers from last Friday, it is critical that our policymakers embrace dynamic and innovative business sectors such as the biopharmaceutical research sector and refrain from stifling job growth through shortsighted proposals such as government-mandated price controls in Medicare Part D.”

-By Laura Woodin