Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) wrote to President Clinton onWednesday urging him "to reject proposals that would have adevastating impact on the biotechnology industry."

"It is the biotech industry -- not the traditional pharmaceuticalindustry -- that I believe suffers the most from two elementsof your draft health-care reform plan: the establishment of a"breakthrough drug committee...and exclusion of new drugsfrom Medicare coverage if Secretary Shalala rules that theycost too much," he wrote.

Kerry warned that the threat of price controls had alreadydried up the flow of capital to the biotech industry and draggeddown stock prices 40 percent since the election. "Lessinvestment will translate directly into less R&D, less work onuntreatable diseases, and fewer new jobs in an industry thathas the potential for creating over a million new jobs withinthe next ten years." -- David C. Holzman

"This is the first member of Congress who has told the WhiteHouse that the impact on the biotech industry is a criticalconsideration in heath-care reform," Lisa Raines, vice presidentfor government affairs at Cambridge, Mass.-based GenzymeCorp. told BioWorld. "He's a Democrat, he's a supporter ofhealth-care reform, but he wants to make sure the biotechindustry isn't hurt, and he's the first member of either party tosay so publicly."

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