Lost in Joan O'C. Hamilton's commentary on U.S. biotechnology is any mention of foreign competition ("A little dose of government won't kill biotech," Science & Technology, Feb. 28).

Biotech firms promise U.S. leadership in a vital industry if they can continue to attract venture capital.

Some years back, the French government imposed "value pricing" on prescription drugs. Investors took their money elsewhere, and research was curtailed. France's pharmaceutical industry, especially small biotech firms, never recovered. The share of the global market in new drugs for French companies fell from 18% to less than 8% in a few years, something to consider the next time someone endorses a government review board to oversee drug prices.

Mary L. Walker

President

San Diego Biocommerce Assn.

San Diego

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