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Marginal gains

How the Senate Finance Committee take on tax reform is better for biopharmas

As tax reform legislation hurtles through Congress, provisions that would have hurt biopharma companies are being jettisoned or modified. Members of Congress have returned home for Thanksgiving, but industry lobbyists will be working overtime to solidify gains and mitigate setbacks that remain in play.

After the House of Representatives passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) on Nov. 16 by a vote of 227-205, the action shifted to the Senate where a slim Republican majority and parliamentary rules present far more challenges. One hurdle was overcome on the 16th when the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of tax reform legislation in a party line 14-12 vote.

Before passing H.R. 1, the House Republican leadership stripped out some language that the biopharma industry strongly opposed, including provisions on the treatment of stock options that would have had unfavorable effects on biopharma compensation practices. It also lengthened the holding period on carried interest to three years from one.

The House did not relent on the Orphan Drug tax

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