The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has welcomed proposals to renew, strengthen and make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit, saying that this can only help US research-based companies sustain their "world-leading development of new medicines for millions of patients".

The proposals are contained within the Investment in America Act of 2007, which is sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee members Democrat Sander Levin and Republican Dave Camp, and supported by 28 of their colleagues on the panel.

“To shape the path of globalisation, we must provide an incentive for our businesses to make the investment in innovation that is key to US prosperity and competitiveness. This bill creates a strong incentive for all companies to maintain and grow their R&D investments in the United States,” said Rep Levin. “For many large companies, the question is often not whether to invest in R&D, but where to invest. For the smaller firms whose innovative ideas and products have the potential to give rise to entirely new industries, the R&D credit helps them afford to make these investments in the first place,” he added.

Passage of the bill “would mean Congress is committed to creating an environment conducive to not only the development of new medicines and other essential products for the patients and consumers of America, but also the creation of jobs for American workers,” said PhRMA

Over 10,000 companies are currently using the credit and, according to estimates by the National Association of Manufacturers, more than 75% of R&D tax credit dollars are used for salaries of employees engaged in R&D work. By Lynne Taylor