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Biopharmaceutical Coalition Highlights Economic Impact in VA

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A coalition is focusing on the contributions that the biopharmaceutical sector makes to the Commonwealth's economy and to the health of Virginians.  The formation of the We Work for Health coalition was announced Wednesday morning in Richmond.

Wednesday, the group released numbers showing the economic impact of Virginia's healthcare and biopharmaceutical industries. We Work for Health says biopharmaceutical companies support more than 76,000 jobs and invest more than $1.5 billion to develop drugs and treatments for Alzheimer's, cancer, and diabetes.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Barry DuVal said, "It's obviously important for the long-term economic impact in the commonwealth of Virginia as well as important for improving the health and the lives of Virginians who are served by this important industry."

We Work for Health says Charlottesville is one of the fast growing areas in the state for high-paying biopharmaceutical jobs.

The coalition is co-chaired by former Virginia State Senator Edd Houck, Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barry DuVal, and Virginia Biotechnology Association Executive Director Mark Herzog.


We Work for Health
Press Release

Former Virginia State Senator Edd Houck, Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barry DuVal, and Virginia Biotechnology Association Executive Director Mark Herzog announced the formation of the We Work for Health Virginia coalition this morning in Richmond. This coalition will highlight the important contributions that the biopharmaceutical sector makes to the Commonwealth's economy and to the health of Virginians.

We Work for Health is a grassroots initiative that unites health consumers, biopharmaceutical company employees and retirees, vendors, suppliers and other business, academic and community partners to demonstrate how these diverse groups work together to improve Virginia's health care system and strengthen our economy.

Active in 11 other states, including North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware, this coalition will highlight the important role that the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry plays to help citizens gain and maintain access to life-saving medicines, fight chronic disease and lead longer, healthier lives. The value of this industry, however, extends beyond the mission of improving health—the sector is also critical to the health of the state economy.

As a vital economic partner, biopharmaceutical companies create and deliver significant benefits to their local communities. By creating high-paying jobs, providing growth opportunities for related industries, fostering higher education in science and math and generating tax revenue, Virginia's biopharmaceutical companies create a strong foundation from which we can rebuild and grow our state economy—providing stability, and prosperity into the future.

Speaking about this new coalition's work in Virginia, Senator Houck remarked, "During my 28 year career serving in the General Assembly, no issue was more important to me than working with the biopharmaceutical industry and health advocacy groups to promote wellness initiatives and to ensure that Virginians had access to affordable and quality medications. In the coming months, we will tell the stories of the senior who takes medication to improve their quality of life, the manufacturer who goes to the plant making important drugs every day right here in Virginia, the patient who is overcoming mental illness with the help of prescription medication, and those Virginia small businesses who depend on a thriving biopharmaceutical sector."

Virginia Biotechnology Association executive director Mark Herzog added, "This is an important effort that will showcase the vital work the bioscience and technology sector does here in Virginia. Last week, Governor McDonnell named 2012 as the "Year of the Entrepreneur" because we are the home to a thriving bioscience industry, first-class research institutions and a strong workforce. We Work for Health is another vehicle to reinforce our commitment to the life sciences community and the important work that they do to keep Virginians healthy."

Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barry DuVal noted, "I am proud to be associated with We Work for Health. A recent economic impact study conducted showed that Virginia biopharmaceutical companies support more than 76,000 jobs in Virginia and invest $1.5 billion in research and development for clinical trials to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, various cancers, Diabetes Mellitus, and mental and behavioral disorders. We are excited to share the message with federal and state policymakers."

Jessica Gilbert of the Lupus Foundation added, "The Lupus Foundation is proud to join We Work for Health Virginia. Dedicated to finding a cure for this chronic autoimmune disease, we must protect and strengthen patients' access to life-saving drugs. As a partner of We Work for Health in other states, we've seen their strong results, and we are delighted to be here in Richmond today standing with this effective coalition."

Members who have joined We Work for Health Virginia include: Virginia Biotechnology Association, Lupus Foundation of America DC/MD/VA Chapter, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the Neurofibromatosis Mid-Atlantic Chapter. We Work for Health Virginia will be announcing additional partners in the coming weeks and months.