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Utah Life Sciences News & Events

Sen. Mitt Romney Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Utah Life Sciences Leaders

August 23, 2019

On Monday, August 19, Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) held a roundtable discussion with leaders from more than 30 Utah-based medical device, pharma and diagnostic companies. Held at Biomerics’ new facility, Romney first toured Biomerics with CEO Travis Sessions, then engaged in a discussion with companies on a range of federal issues impacting Utah’s growing life sciences industry. Kelvyn Cullimore, president and CEO of BioUtah, facilitated the discussion, which largely focused on the medical device tax, drug pricing debate, and R&D funding.

Medical device companies told the senator that the device tax would have a devastating impact on long-term investment in R&D, and punishes innovation. Small device startups that have no revenue, would be especially hit hard. Romney is a co-sponsor of the “Protecting Medical Innovation Act”, S 692, which would fully repeal the tax.

On the subject of drug pricing, the senator noted that there is bipartisan momentum building in Congress to reduce drug prices. However, he acknowledged that there is not necessarily agreement on how to do that. BioUtah and pharma-related companies expressed concern about proposals under consideration that would impose ineffective forms of price controls, permit drug importation and make changes to patent laws that could have unintended, but harmful consequences.

“Ultimately, these kinds of measures will do little to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs,” said Cullimore. “We want to work with Congress to protect critical innovation, while ensuring that cost reductions go directly to the consumer.”

Senator Romney and his staff have been receptive and responsive to the concerns of Utah’s life sciences industry. This roundtable is part of an on-going dialogue on federal policies of importance to the industry.