Report touts drug industry's economic impact as debt negotiators debate cuts

Slashing annual biopharmaceutical revenues by $10 billion would cost the economy 130,000 lost jobs, according to a new Battelle report unveiled as debt ceiling negotiators consider deep cuts to the industry.

The report, supported by the trade association Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), also estimated that 260,000 "across sectors" would be lost from a $20 billion hit to annual revenues. The industry is particularly concerned with a proposal to extend Medicaid drug rebates to the so-called "dual eligibles" who are simultaneously on Medicare, which could raise more than $50 billion over 10 years.

"As the Administration and Members of Congress continue to discuss potential solutions to reduce our nation's budget deficit, they should take great care to not pursue policies that could result in tens of thousands of lost jobs across the U.S.," PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani said in a statement accompanying the report's release. "Nationwide, the biopharmaceutical sector supported a total of 4 million jobs in 2009, including nearly 675,000 direct jobs, according to the report. Each job in a biopharmaceutical research company supported almost 6 additional jobs in other sectors, ranging from manufacturing jobs to construction and other building service jobs to contract researchers and child care providers."

The industry is holding a 10 a.m. conference call to discuss the report.