WTC Aftermath

Legislative agenda forgotten

A government-subsidized prescription drug benefit for senior citizens, which was at the top of the legislative agenda, was blasted off the 2001 congressional calendar on Sept. 11, along with other issues of direct importance to the biotech industry such as the nomination and confirmation of FDA and NIH leaders, parallel imports, attempts to ban human reproductive and therapeutic cloning, and moves to modify the Bush administration's parameters for NIH-funded stem cell research.

In contrast to U.S. military doctrine, which is predicated on the need to fight two major wars simultaneously, Congress can deal with only one major issue at a time, so there is virtually no chance that it will take meaningful action on a Medicare drug benefit or other such issues prior to the upcoming winter recess.