12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 02, 2001
 |  BioCentury  |  Politics, Policy & Law

DNA says lawmaker was premature

When Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) released proposed Medicare prescription drug benefit legislation last week, he told reporters that it was supported by Genentech Inc. (DNA), the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, and other groups. The biotech company and the generic drug manufacturers are odd bedfellows, even by Washington standards. More important, DNA's endorsement of the bill would be a feather in Graham's hat because biotech and pharmaceutical companies and their trade associations have not officially endorsed any of the competing Medicare prescription drug plans.

It seems, however, that Graham exaggerated DNA's ardor. The company has worked with the Florida senator but it "is not backing the Graham bill," said Walter Moore, vice president of government affairs at DNA (South San Francisco, Calif.).

Moore told BioCentury that DNA has been working with Graham "to modify his bill to make it more market-oriented. We support the movement he has made towards that. We support what he's doing, but we are not endorsing his bill because we still have concerns." In particular, he said, DNA wants to make sure that the bill would allow free competition among pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that would deliver a drug benefit under Graham's plan.

The Graham bill, the Medicare Reform Act of 2001 (S. 1135) seeks to graft a defined...

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