by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Bio Technology : July 2009
AusBioFEATURE The times they are a changin’… What Obama wants for US healthcare and its impact on the global drug development industry By David Blake, Co-editor Bioshares Healthcare under Obama If the eyes of biotech investors are not focussed on President Barack Obama they should be. Obama has marked out healthcare as a major reform target and a key election platform he wants to win on. Obama has moved aggressively in the areas of healthcare and medical science research to set up his credentials and signal the direction and pace of change he wants to effect. An early action was approval of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, an insurance program that covers 11m children from families that do not have insurance. Obama also reversed rules restricting US Federal funding of stem cell lines to cell lines created before 9 August 2001. Obama has appointed a new FDA commissioner, Dr Margaret ‘Peggy’ Hamburg, a public health expert who was formerly New York’s health commissioner. She was confirmed on 18 May 2009. Her deputy is Dr Joshua Sharfstein, a pediatrician, a former commissioner of health in Baltimore and former aide to that most influential of congressmen, Henry Waxman. Obama is seeking a US$300m increase to the FDA’s federal supplied funds of US$2.06b. The agency’s budget is currently US$2.7b with approximately US$700m received through user fees. Underfunding of the FDA has been a long-standing complaint from many different groups, 16 Australasian BioTechnology Volume 19 • Number 2 • July 2009 and has had a direct impact on investors in biotech companies, including Australian groups. Interestingly, the Obama administration is considering introducing drug review fees for generic drug applicants. This has the potential to speed up of the process of generic drug applications and is an initiative which may not be welcomed by the large branded-drug companies. One economic stimulus package (US$787b) initiated in February by Obama is the American Recovery and Investment Act 2009 that supports US$150b in additional spending across a range of healthcare and medical research areas. Included in this is $24.7b in health insurance assistance for the newly unemployed and US$87b for additional matching Federal funds for state Medicaid programs. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) US$10.4b received a top-up to its annual budget of US$29.5b, a staggering one-off payment that concedes the short and long-term benefits of basic and applied medical research. Of that injection, US$8.2b is assigned for research. On the health IT front, US$17.2b was set aside to provide incentives to physicians and hospitals to move from paperbased information systems to electronic systems. Current estimates are that 17% of physicians use electronic record systems and the uptake with hospitals is about 10%.