BIO praises senators for updating excise tax on vaccines

The Biotechnology Industry Organization praised Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on Tuesday for their role in passing H.R. 475, which updates the excise tax on vaccines.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States. BIO members are involved with developing and researching healthcare and biotechnological products.

"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," Jim Greenwood, BIO president and CEO, said.

The excise tax applies to seasonal influenza vaccines and helps fund a no-fault compensation program for people who are harmed by covered vaccines. Previously, the law that imposes the excise tax only applied to trivalent flu vaccines, but H.R. 475 expands the tax to include new quadrivalent flu vaccines as well. Without coverage, the new vaccines would not be as widely available to the public.

"This is an extremely important public health matter," Greenwood said. "Updating the vaccine excise tax to bring it into alignment with the newest developments in the vaccine market is critical to addressing the upcoming influenza season."