WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

BIO commends Congress on passing excise tax on influenza vaccine

The Biotechnology Industry Organization recently applauded Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.) for passing H.R. 475, which would add the four-strain influenza vaccine to the excise tax.

"The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established after many manufacturers left the vaccine market due to litigation concerns," BIO CEO and President Jim Greenwood said. "The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines. The existence of the VICP has allowed for continued innovation in the vaccine market over the past 25 years."

The previous law only allows for tri-strain influenza vaccines to benefit from the VICP program. The new law, an extremely important public health matter according to Greenwood, includes the newest four-strain influenza vaccine, allowing the newest vaccine technology to be more widely available.

"Sens. Baucus and Hatch and Reps. Gerlach and Neal should be applauded for their efforts to ensure that the newest flu vaccines will be covered by the VICP in time for flu season ensuring patient access to the latest therapies."

The excise tax legislation also supports the vaccines against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, rotavirus, pneumococcal pneumonia, hepatitis A, seasonal influenza, meningococcal and human papillomavirus.