Speaker pro Tem Mullin Hosts Biotech 101 Legislative Staff Briefing Highlighting Significance of California Life Sciences

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Speaker pro Tem Mullin Hosts Biotech 101 Legislative Staff Briefing Highlighting Significance of California Life Sciences

October 31, 2018

Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin hosted a Biotech 101 legislative staff briefing on California’s Life Sciences Industry. This informative session was co-hosted with the California Biotechnology Foundation and Biocom at Amgen’s South San Francisco facility. More than 30 government officials and legislative staff from the local, state and federal levels participated during the informational session held at Amgen.

Highlights included:

  • Assemblymember Kevin Mullin gave an overview of California’s life sciences industry and the policies legislators consider each year that impact California’s second largest industry;
  • Gregory Theyel, Ph.D., Director of the Biomedical Manufacturing Network, discussed the fundamentals of biotechnology, including the science involved with breakthrough treatments and the value and costs of developing life-saving medicines;
  • Jennifer Fitzgerald, director of State Government Affairs at Amgen, discussed the life sciences landscape and policies that foster biotech innovation;
  • Aarif Khakoo, M.D., head of Translational Medicine and Vice President of Medical Services at Amgen discuss new treatments on the horizon with a specific focus on cancer therapies and cures; and
  • Representatives from the Biocom Institute and the California Life Sciences Institute discussed their third joint life science industry workforce trends report and how to ensure the strength of California’s life science workforce pipeline.

Educational Briefing with State Union Trades Centers on Opioid Use Disorder Treatments

In collaboration with the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, PhRMA, the CA Bio-Pharma Labor Management Association and Biocom, the CA Biotechnology Foundation hosted an informational briefing and reception in Sacramento with more than 50 union leaders, legislative staff and industry representatives to discuss treatments and best practices used in treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).

The briefing provided an overview about how treatment experts are using Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) in their daily practices to treat patients with OUD in some of the most vulnerable populations.  Highlights included:

  • Stuart Lustig, a psychiatrist and the National Medical Executive of Behavioral Health from Cigna, underscored that effective treatments to address the growing opioid epidemic require a greater understanding of the critical dynamic between mental health and pain management.
  • Tarzana Treatment Centers Clinical Director, Dr. Ken Bachrach, the shared insights on the successful patient outcomes that come from comprehensive substance use treatments that incorporate a continuum of services supporting housing and transportation, financial and legal issues, educational and vocational needs, medical and mental health care, and HIV/HCV services.
  • Pablo McCabe, LCSW from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provided attendees a host of questions to consider in navigating insurance plans and vetting quality centers for excellence in treatment.

We are encouraged that trades and labor union leadership have taken an interest in this critical public health issue and are working to find solutions to address and treat this epidemic for their workers and for all Californians. As many of the speakers noted, this is an issue that will not be solved anytime soon. However, with so many stakeholders focusing on this issue, we believe California will be on the forefront of treating OUD and serving as a national catalyst for change.

  • The approach to treating opioid addiction requires the same protocol as for other diseases and illnesses. Physicians should inform patients of all treatment options to addiction. Treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Referrals to addiction treatment should be easier to acquire from primary care physicians.
  • Rural areas have limited access to addiction treatment and are reliant on individual local government policies.
  • FDA approved treatments are available that not only have effective outcomes but can also reduce the decline in mental health that can lead to other chronic mental illnesses.
  • Biotech research is advancing medication delivery options that reduce the stigma associated with care (e.g. advancing from needles to spray) and improve treatment. It is also reducing the need for residential treatment or overnight stay related care and helping identify critical areas of advancement for those who fall out of treatment.