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2016 Legislative Priorities & Results
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 2016 GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS PRIORITIES

Invest in Biomedical Research   
The goal is to seed research with potential to lead to breakthrough treatments and expand the industry and Florida’s economy.  BioFlorida encourages the funding of research at Florida’s Centers of Excellence including state research universities and our independent research institutes through the following initiatives:

  • Support the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and Bill Bankhead and David Coley Cancer Research Program: maintain current funding from cigarette sales surcharge to fund biomedical research and drug discovery.
  • Support Legislation Regarding Alzheimer’s Research and Care: Encourage increased funding for the Ed & Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program to make Florida a leader in Alzheimer’s research and care.
  • Increase funding and expansion of Florida’s Cancer Centers of Excellence Program: designed to recognize excellence in cancer treatment, excel in patient care and recruiting researchers.
  • Support for Translational Research: Encourage the discovery and development of therapeutics to strengthen and expand the intellectual property portfolio of our universities and independent research institutes.
  • Support Efficiencies in State Contracting in the Life Sciences Arena: Agency outreach and communication to support streamlining metrics and deliverables on state contracts for research funding.  BioFlorida advocates a standard for deliverables and accountability that makes sense for research. BioFlorida will create a workgroup to explore this issue and communicate findings to relevant government officials and staff.

2016 Results: Over $82 million in state funding was appropriated to support research and care for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. This supports the universities and independent research institutes as they discover breakthrough treatments and support the life sciences economy in the state.

 

Support and Expand the Florida Life Sciences Industry
In order to make Florida more competitive with other states, BioFlorida supports the infusion of funds and creation of tax incentives to support existing companies and to attract more life sciences companies to the state.  BioFlorida favors increased funding for the continuation of these existing programs and new funding to support the expansion of the vibrant life science industry in Florida.

  • Support State Tax Reductions: BioFlorida will monitor tax and fee reduction proposals (including, but not limited to: manufacturing, sales tax, and corporate income tax) to assess their impact on the life science industry and encourages our members to provide feedback to Governor Scott and legislative leaders on ideas for these proposals. 
  • Fund and Support the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (Institute): The Institute funds start-ups and helps investors and entrepreneurs identify new investment opportunities based on technologies developed through publicly-funded research.  BioFlorida advocates for the continuation and expansion of the Institute’s funding programs.  
  • Encourage investor funds in the life sciences: support measures that encourage angel, venture capital, and other funding for Florida companies.
  • Fund the Innovation Incentive Fund: BioFlorida supports the continuation and expansion of funding for the Florida Innovation Incentive Fund, which provides opportunities for the state to grow its biotechnology industry by investing in large-scale biotechnology and life sciences projects.
  • Strengthen Florida’s Economic Development Tool Kit: including the Quick Action Closing Fund, the High Impact Performance Incentive (HIPI) grants and the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI) and the tax exemption for manufacturing and machinery and research and development costs.
  • Advocate for Continued Legislative Support of Public-Private Partnerships: Support statutory changes to allow state universities and other research institutions to take advantage of public-private partnerships. Explore additional measures that will promote Florida’s growing and emerging life science industries.

2016 Results:  The Legislature recognized the value of these programs and made the following allocations: The Institute for Commercialization of Public Research funded at $5.5 million, the economic development “tool kit” was funded at $18 million, and Enterprise Florida was funded at $15 million. Additionally, the $400 million tax incentive package included a permanent elimination of the sales tax on equipment and machinery purchases by manufacturers and retains the $9 million base for the research and development corporate income tax credit. 

 

Support Patient Access and Appropriate Use of Therapeutic Options
Breakthrough cures and access to these cures have a two-fold impact: access to cures promotes discovery and support of Florida-based life science research; and these cures literally save the lives of Floridians.

  • Support Right Medicine, Right Time: Support measures that increase access for Florida patients to prescription medications, including breakthrough medications, and support transparency in payor’s formulary process. 
  • Support advancing biotech innovation without burdensome regulatory frameworks: Foster pharmaceutical innovation through strong intellectual property rights and patient access to essential drug products through pricing flexibility.
  • Oppose Unintended Expansion of 340B Drug Pricing: Ensure that any efforts to expand 340B drug pricing at the state level are consistent with the intended goals of the program and do not inadvertently stifle innovation within the bioscience industry.   BioFlorida advocates that policymakers ensure the 340B program meets its stated purpose – helping uninsured indigent patients gain access to prescription medicines. 
  • Support Voluntary Drug Take-Back Programs: Support efforts at the state level to ensure voluntary drug take-back programs.  These programs protect public health and the environment and recognize partnerships with the growing bioscience industry.  Prescription drugs that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  The rate of prescription drug abuse has become alarmingly high and these drug take-back programs provide a necessary method for individuals to properly and safely dispose of controlled substances. BioFlorida supports any efforts to encourage Florida to provide opportunities for citizens to properly dispose of any prescription drugs that are no longer needed or are outdated.

2016 Results:  Several pieces of legislation passed that support patient access and therapeutic options.  HB 7087 passed which allows professionals both inside and outside of Florida to use telehealth to provide health care services, the bill includes oversight roles by the Agency for Health Care Administration as well as the Department of Health and the Office of Insurance Regulation, and establishes the Telehealth Advisory Council.  Additionally, HB 307 and HB 1313 passed, these bills expand a 2015 law that adds cannabis to a list of experimental drugs available to patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  The “Right to Try” law allows terminally patients to have access to experimental drugs that have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

Support the Marketing of Florida’s Life Science Business Brand
Increase interaction and exposure of advances made in the state and support continued economic development efforts centered on life sciences.

  • Support Enterprise Florida’s efforts to Market Florida’s Business Brand: support increased funding to promote Florida as a destination for businesses in the life sciences.
  • Promote Florida as a Destination for Clinical Trials: Develop and implement strategy to encourage clinical trials in Florida including education and incentives.  Clinical trials improve research and treatments, benefit patients, and contribute to the economy. Florida has already acknowledged its support of clinical trials through the collaboration agreement between the state and health insurers for insurers to provide routine coverage and cover patient costs associated with Phase I through IV cancer clinical trials. Additionally, in 2014, the state allocated $50 million to support research that involves clinical trials at Florida Cancer Centers.

2016 Results: Enterprise Florida was appropriated $8.5 million to market the state as a business destination. Additionally, $654,150 was appropriated to the Department of Health to support the Statewide Cancer Registry, the largest population-based cancer incidence registry in the nation. These enhancements will allow the registry to collect information on cases which not only occur in hospitals but in community oncologists’ offices. 

Abbott

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