VACCINE RESEARCH: Bill May Ride on Tax Credit Package
In an effort to spur vaccine development, Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D- CA) and Charles Rangel (D-NY) are giving new life to their Lifesaving Vaccine Technology Act, which would provide a tax credit for research and development devoted to developing a vaccine for infectious diseases such as AIDS, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Pelosi's bill would provide a 30% tax credit for research in hopes of encouraging companies to develop an AIDS vaccine, and companies accepting the tax break would be required to "work with public health groups and governments to find ways to get the vaccine to people around the world who need it," the Examiner reports. Like its Senate counterpart, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the legislation will likely be attached to a package of tax credits that Republicans are hoping to usher through Congress before the August recess. However, Rep. Bill Archer (R-TX), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he planned to expand an existing research and development tax credit that would offer firms a 20% tax credit. Ways and Means spokesperson Trent Duggy said it is unclear whether the final tax bill will include the Pelosi-Kerry measure. One tax lobbyist said the measure would need President Clinton's support, saying, "You really need the White House on board." Drug companies are "sinking billions of dollars into 113 new AIDS treatments," but few are vaccines, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Pelosi said that her proposal "could speed development of preventive weapons against these diseases, potentially saving millions of lives and billions of dollars in treatment costs and productivity losses" (Holland, San Francisco Examiner, 7/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.