Thursday, February 12, 2009

Online Poll Says Nyet to Biotech Bailout; Results Subject to Instant Change

Does the biotech industry deserve a bailout? No, according to the current results of an online poll being conducted today by Fierce Biotech, which calls itself "The Biotech Industry's Daily Monitor."

At least that was the conclusion at the time of this writing. It was a "finding" that might give minor pause to those pushing the $10 billion assistance package championed by the chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, Robert Klein.

Here is what the poll showed at 3:33 p.m. MST today. Forty-nine percent answered negatively to the bailout question. Forty-three percent said yes. Eight percent were not sure.

We were surprised by the numbers because the Fierce Biotech audience presumably consists of folks inclined to support the industry wholeheartedly. But some poll respondents may have been taken aback by the avaricious clamor to climb aboard the already stressed bailout wagon in Washington.

The poll is totally unscientific. No total numbers are offered. You just go to the site and vote. It is even possible to vote twice, if you are crafty. (We did, once yes and once no, to assure complete balance.) Earlier in the day, something like 53 percent supported a bailout, but that changed as the day wore on, Even that number was surprising, however, given the nature of Fierce's audience.

The poll was also linked to an opinion piece by Daniel Nevrivy of the Nevrivy Patent Law Group in Washington, which argued for a bailout. He wrote,
"At a recent healthcare conference, the notion that the biotech industry receive government help was ridiculed by a well-known financial executive. Doing 'something stupid' over there--a reference to the U.S. auto industry bailout - doesn't mean you should do something stupid over here, remarked the executive. The remark is reflective of the evolving attitudes of Congress and the U.S. taxpayer over industry bailouts. Support for U.S. automakers, who regularly get beat by the foreign competition--even on their home turf--may have poisoned the well for other, more worthy industries like biotech that are now struggling."
Nevrivy argued that it is wrong to equate the two. He said US biotech is stronger than its foreign competitors, although it is suffering from a current cash crunch.

He wrote,
"Economists generally disfavor government support and subsidies; however, we are living in a world where the government is an active player, as well as a referee, and is picking winners and losers. If we have to pick winners and losers, doesn't it make a certain amount of economic sense to favor industries in which we have an advantage? If that is the case, it is wrong to equate support for the U.S. auto and biotech industries as equally bad ideas."
Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment