Behind BIO’s leadership change – POLITICO


With Megan Wilson

‘NO-WIN SITUATION’: ‘AGREEMENTS WITH THE PART OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE CEO OF BIO – Michelle McMurry-Heath, hired to lead the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and serve as a change agent at the 30-year-old trade association, quit earlier this month – in part because of repeated clashes with a small group influential executives on the board who thought she didn’t go far enough on social and political issues, Megan reports.

The unrest in the industry group, which has more than 1,000 members in the biopharmaceutical and agricultural sectors, comes as Democrats are set to implement one of the most sweeping drug reform programs in the world. decade and underscores the challenge of leading a large board of directors with political goals and views on its mission.

Megan spoke to more than a dozen people – including current and former BIO staffers, lobbyists and a healthcare executive – about the internal dynamics of the organization and the circumstances surrounding the unexpected resignation. of McMurry-Heath.

They told him that while his abrupt departure took many by surprise, it was fueled by a complex mix of behind-the-scenes factors, including personnel and organizational changes – such as pandemic-induced layoffs which, according to some, could have been better managed.

But it was a few executives on BIO’s board who wanted the group to be more outspoken on issues like voting restrictions and abortion rights, and even Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. played a role in his departure, said six people with knowledge of the events. .

“This kind of everything came to a head because you have this group of CEOs – not all of them, but remember, these were the people who hired her – I really believe they wanted to turn BIO into an organization of social change, in addition to being a professional association,” said one of the six. “She was in a no-win situation in that regard.”

Ted Love, the vice chairman of BIO’s board, called the description of a small number of CEOs with outsized influence — and the departure of McMurry-Heath over disagreements with them — seeming ” disinformation campaign.

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ON TODAY’S PULSE CHECK PODCAST, David Lim discusses with Ruth Reader the main takeaways from the MedTech conference in Boston this week. Additionally, researcher Eric Bressman discusses a new study, which found that sending automated text messages to patients after they leave the hospital can reduce their chances of readmission. Listen to today’s Pulse Check podcast.

NEW THIS MORNING – The World Health Organization-backed program at the center of the pandemic response for the world’s poorest countries focuses on long-term priorities rather than emergencies, POLITICO’s Carmen Paun reports.

It is another important decision by governments and international organizations to pivot towards a post-pandemic world.

“The pandemic may soon be over, but Covid-19 is here to stay,” said a transition plan released on Friday.

The program has played a key role in providing tests and vaccines, especially in places where the response to the pandemic has been the slowest. About $24 billion, mostly from wealthy countries, has been invested in the ACT-Accelerator program.

Even if the program changes direction, it does not go away. The group will maintain its structure to respond to any new variants and will continue to work to increase vaccination rates.

In its new immunization efforts, however, the program will focus on groups most at risk and respond to real-time country demand to reduce waste.

It will likely take even more money, around $386 million over the next six months, unless a new variant emerges that requires a bigger response.

REBOUND OF THE TUBERCULOSIS PANDEMIC – Tuberculosis deaths have increased throughout the pandemic, believed to be linked to the shift in public health attention to Covid-19, POLITICO’s Grace Scullion reports.

The increase in disease and mortality is a reversal of the decades-long trend of declining TB infection and mortality.

The WHO report, released on Thursday, estimates that more than 10 million people contracted TB in 2021, of whom 1.6 million died from the disease, up nearly 7 percentage points from 2020.

Meanwhile, spending on TB services has fallen by about $600 million since 2019, the report said.

USAID’s New Plan: When the WHO report was released, USAID announced a strategy to respond to the disease through 2030.

The ambitious plan includes attempting to reduce deaths from the disease by more than 50% by the end of the decade, as well as working to treat 90% of those diagnosed with TB.

INDUSTRY WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EUROPEAN HEALTH DATA AREA – Private companies are seeking to become an important part of the European Union’s health data space, an information exchange intended to protect data and spur new research, reports POLITICO’s Ashleigh Furlong.

The industry’s proposal to be part of the space comes with demands for pledges of intellectual property protection.

But it also comes with concerns from regulators that privacy and data protection could be sacrificed if the space is not well-policed.

IF CONGRESS DOESN’T, THE FDA COULDTop FDA officials are increasingly pointed in their warnings that if Congress doesn’t take action this year on an overhaul of regulations for lab-developed diagnostics and tests, the agency could instead pursue the rule making.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and Center for Devices and Radiological Health Director Jeff Shuren told top medical technology executives in Boston this week that all options are on the table if what is known as the name of Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act does not advance.

The VALID Act — included in an FDA user fee reauthorization package that the Senate Aid Committee advanced in a 13-9 vote in June — was left out of a bill “lean” on user fees that the Senate passed in a continuing resolution in September. This funding bill did not contain any amendments requested by the FDA and others, but there is hope that the overhaul of diagnostics regulations could be included in a year-end omnibus bill. .

IOWA JUDGE TO HEAR ABORTION CASE – A Polk County District Court judge is expected to hear arguments today on whether to lift the injunction on a state law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

State lawmakers passed the so-called “heartbeat bill” in 2018. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wadethe Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that there is a fundamental right to an abortion under the due process and equal protection clauses of the state Constitution, and the Heartbeat Law has was suspended following this decision.

Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court reversed part of that ruling, saying that while the state Constitution provides some protections for abortion, it is not a basic right.

In response, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds filed a petition in August, asking the court to lift the injunction.

TRYING TO AVOID A BOOSTER GAP – Biden officials said Thursday they are working to ensure bivalent Covid-19 boosters are distributed equitably and are reaching out to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This effort is part of the federal government’s new Covid campaign.

Inequitable access to vaccines and treatments persists in government public health responses, even as shortcomings were brought to light at the onset of Covid-19.

A report published Thursday in the CDC’s MMWR found that among nearly 700,000 Covid-19 patients who sought medical care from January to July 2022, black and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely to be treated with the antiviral. Paxlovid, with the largest discrepancies occurring among older people. Blacks aged 57 to 79 were 44% less likely to receive Paxlovid, an important post-diagnosis treatment, than their white counterparts.

Separate research released by the agency on Thursday found that since 2009, flu shot coverage has been consistently lower among Hispanics, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, blacks and other multiracial communities than among adults. white and non-Hispanic Asians.

And in the ongoing monkeypox outbreak, of the 931,155 doses of the Jynneos vaccine distributed as of Oct. 10, 51.4% were white, 12.6% were black and 22.5 were Hispanic, according to CDC data.

Susan M. Huang was appointed medical director of America’s Physician Group. Previously, she was Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Aledade, a company that works with independent physician practices with value-based care payment models.

The lobbying and consulting firm Mercury announced on Thursday that it had expanded its “multi-state base practice,” which will be led by Robert Jonesformer senior vice president of U.S. government relations and public affairs at Pfizer, and John Moffettformerly of SPEAK Strategic, a South Carolina public affairs and communications firm.

Jan Hoffman of The New York Times writes about the tough choices facing OB-GYN residency programs after the fall of Roe vs. Wade.

STAT’s Karen Pennar writes about the growing pressure on the healthcare industry to tackle pollution.

Celine Gounder writes in The Atlantic about some of the problems with the current Covid recall strategy.

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