Advocacy ensures that BioFlorida is able to continue to foster relationships with Legislators and their Staff, and be seen as thought leaders in the biomedical and biotech fields. These relationships prove critical when immediate action is necessary, and BioFlorida's members provide crucial information and support.

 

Advocacy

BioFlorida advocates on behalf of its members and the industry. 

2014 STATUTORY PRIORITIES:

Promote State Biotechnology Competitiveness – In order to make Florida more competitive with other states, BioFlorida supports the creation of tax incentives to attract more biotechnology companies to the state. BioFlorida supports increased funding to spur growth of Florida’s biotechnology industry and the continuation of programs already implemented in Florida like the Innovation Incentive Fund, State Economic Enhancement and Development Fund, Biomedical Research Trust Funds and the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. BioFlorida advocates for the continuation of these existing programs and for the expansion of the vibrant life science industry in Florida.

  • Maintain Current Funding from Cigarette Sales Surcharge
    Support the continuation of the cigarette sales tax surcharge dollars to fund biomedical research. These funds help stimulate the growth of new companies and current institutions in our industry by providing resources available from Florida Department of Health (DOH) grant opportunities. Florida receives approximately $900 million per year from this source alone and BioFlorida advocates for the continued use of these funds to support research and development in our industries.
     
  • Support Legislation Regarding Alzheimer’s Research and Care
    HB 709 would create the Ed & Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program within the Florida Department of Health. The purpose of this program is to fund new Alzheimer’s disease research and take steps to ensure proper care for Alzheimer’s patients. HB 709 would create a program to help pay for research through a peer-review process aimed at preventing or curing the disease. Additionally, the bill would require “special needs shelters” used during natural disasters are prepared to serve people with Alzheimer’s and would develop minimum performance standards for memory-disorder clinics throughout the State of Florida. HB 709 is the first step toward making Florida a leader in Alzheimer’s research and care.
  • Support State Tax Reductions
    The recently announced budget surplus for the 2014-2015 FY has led Governor Scott and legislative leaders to call for a reduction of certain business taxes and state fees. BioFlorida will monitor these tax and fee reduction proposals 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. 
    • HB 11/SB 176 are examples of important tax reductions for the biotech and life science industries. BioFlorida supports HB 11/SB 176 providing for the incremental reduction of taxes imposed on rental fees charged for the use of commercial property. In addition, Governor Scott recently released a $100 million budget recommendation that would be used to start the tax reduction for these purposes. The savings by member-companies, both large and small, will be very important to further advance the biotech and life science industries in Florida.
       
  • 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. Since the inception of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) led voluntary drug-take back program in 2010, there have been 7 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days with approximately 3.4 million pounds of medication being removed from circulation. 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.
  • 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. In 1992, Congress created the 340B program to help uninsured indigent patients gain better access to prescription medicines. In order to achieve that goal, Congress required pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide discounts to clinics or hospitals serving high numbers of uninsured indigent patients. BioFlorida advocates that policymakers ensure the 340B program meets its stated purpose – helping uninsured indigent patients gain access to prescription medicines. In order to properly do so, we request:
         -Adequate funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA),
         -Improved transparency to advance the program’s goals and ensure appropriate use of program resources,
         -Formal notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act, and a
         -Clearer definition of the term “patient” following the increased coverage of prescription medicines by commercial insurance companies and coverage of uninsured persons through the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part D.

 

FUNDING PRIORITIES:

Fund and Support the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research (Institute) – The Institute helps investors and entrepreneurs identify new investment opportunities based on technologies developed through publicly-funded research. The Institute oversees two programs that offer funding opportunities to qualified companies. BioFlorida advocates for the continuation and expansion of the Institute’s funding programs.   
 
Fund Basic Research Programs – BioFlorida encourages the preservation and funding of Florida’s Centers of Excellence at our state research universities; James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and Bill Bankhead and David Coley Biomedical Research Program. In 2013, the Legislature appropriated $49,750,000 for biomedical research related trust funds and institutes; this was an increase of more than $15 million of directed dollars to biomedical research. BioFlorida members request that the State of Florida make a goal to direct 10% of the $900 million Cigarette Sales Surcharge to biomedical research. These funds will be used for competitive grants administered by the Florida Department of Health for biomedical and cancer research programs.
 
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.   Scripps, Torrey Pines, Max Planck, and Sanford-Burnham are all recipients of state funding, either specifically through the Innovation Incentive Fund or some similar funding method. In 2013, the Legislature appropriated a total of $71 million for a larger fund, which included the Innovation Incentive Fund. BioFlorida asks that the Innovation Incentive Fund return to a stand-alone fund to focus on large-scale, industry-advancing initiatives.
 

 

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