2020 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; and all funding should be in compliance with U.S. Health and Human Services guidelines:
- 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 for cancer-related research, patient care, and medical education in Florida: This will enhance the quality and competitiveness of cancer care in this state, further a statewide biomedical research strategy directly responsive to the health needs of Florida’s citizens, and capitalize on the potential educational opportunities available to Florida’s students.
- Support for New Drug Discovery and Translational Research: Encourage the discovery and development of therapeutics to strengthen and expand the intellectual property portfolio of our universities and independent research institutes.
2020 Results: BioFlorida supports an increase in biomedical research funding; this year, over $100 million was appropriated by the Legislature. This includes level funding for King, Bankhead/Coley and Moore; and an increase funding for cancer through state universities and independent research institutes. Governor DeSantis acted on the budget in late June, and despite a historic level of over $1 billion in vetoes, most BioFlorida budget priorities remained intact.
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: sales tax, commercial lease, and corporate income tax) to assess their impact on the life science industry and encourages our members to provide feedback to Governor DeSantis and legislative leaders on ideas for these proposals.
- Promote State Biotechnology Competitiveness: BioFlorida supports continuation funding to spur growth of Florida’s biotechnology industry, including loan guarantee program funding. Support the modernization of current regulations and eliminate outdated regulatory barriers to facilitate novel therapies and approaches to delivering healthcare.
- Support the Institute for Commercialization of Florida Technology (Institute): The Institute funds innovation-based start-ups and helps investors and entrepreneurs identify new investment and management opportunities.
- Encourage investor funds in the life sciences: Support measures that encourage angel, venture capital, and other funding for Florida companies.
- Strengthen Florida’s Economic Development Tool Kit: Including the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, the Quick Action Closing Fund, the High Impact Performance Incentive (HIPI) grants and the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund (QTI).
2020 Results: BioFlorida supports tax incentives to help member companies better access financial resources to advance new, innovative technologies. With a fiscal impact of just $36.6 million, the tax package was significantly trimmed in the final week of session as the legislature prioritized policy and funding in the areas of public health and COVID-19 response. The narrow tax package for FY 2020-21 includes the back-to-school and hurricane preparedness sales tax holidays as well as language that impacts not-for-profit hospitals’ tax exempt eligibility. Finally, the state’s research and development tax credit will be maintained at the base amount of $9 million.
The Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program was created to encourage the creation and retention of high-quality, high-wage jobs by providing state tax refunds to eligible businesses creating jobs in certain targeted industries. These targeted industries include life sciences, manufacturing, defense and homeland security, aviation/aerospace, information technology, financial and professional services, logistics and distribution, research and development, cleantech and corporate headquarters. The tax refund program expired on June 30, 2020. SB 922 and HB 779 were filed to extend the scheduled repeal date, but the bills did not pass. The Department of Economic Opportunity has yet to make a determination as to whether they will pursue this language in the next session.
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 save the lives of Floridians.
- Support legislation that protects personal genetic information from unauthorized use by third parties: Support legislation that expands existing prohibitions on the use of genetic information by insurers to include entities that issue policies for life insurance and long-term care insurance.
- 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. Oppose measures that establish a system premised on therapeutic interchangeability of prescription medications and the dispensing of therapeutic alternative medications without prior authorization of a prescriber.
- Oppose artificial controls on the prescription drug marketplace: Oppose legislation and other efforts to establish drug price controls or “drug price transparency” reporting requirements for manufacturers, or limitations on consumer discounting. Support policies that prioritize patient safety and quality control.
- Support Alignment of Florida Vaccination Requirements with CDC Recommendations: Support proposed Department of Health rule changes and/or legislation that aim to increase immunization rates for children, adolescents, and adults, consistent with current federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations and support policies that increase public understanding of the benefits of vaccinations.
2020 Results: BioFlorida took an active role in supporting HB 1189 which prohibits issuers of life insurance, long-term care insurance, and disability income insurance from canceling, limiting, or denying coverage, and from setting different premium rates, based on personal genetic information without a specific diagnosis related to the genetic information. The bill also prohibits these insurers from requiring or soliciting genetic information, using genetic test results, or considering a person’s decisions or actions relating to genetic testing for any insurance purpose. This bill was signed into law by Governor DeSantis.
BioFlorida supports policies that prioritize patient safety and quality control and tracks issues related to prescription drugs. This year, BioFlorida worked with a group of healthcare advocates to oppose legislation mandating complicated price disclosure notices and to instead offer alternatives that promoted access and transparency. Ultimately, the legislature did not pass any onerous price disclosure legislation.
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: Encourage the state government to work with the medical innovation community to develop and implement strategy that promotes Florida as a clinical trial destination. The state has invested tens of millions to advance national recognition and accreditation of the work of clinical institutions. Such clinical trials improve research and treatments, expand access to 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.
2020 Results: BioFlorida supports economic development efforts centered around growing the life sciences industry in Florida. The legislature fully funded Enterprise Florida at $16 million.