Greetings from the PhRMA Annual Meeting

New PhRMA Chairman Bob Hugin Looks to the Future

04.12.13 | By Robert J. Hugin

The past few days have been an excellent reminder of the accomplishments of our organization during the past year under the leadership of Dr. John Lechleiter. We have made important progress in our ongoing mission to protect and expand medical innovation and provide patients with access to disease-altering new therapies. These sessions have also instilled tremendous confidence that we will continue this vital work as we navigate an increasingly challenging policy environment.

As I step into my new role as chairman of PhRMA, I look forward to working with the exceptional leadership of PhRMA and its member companies to create this landscape of innovation that will enable the next great advances in health, economic growth and societal benefit.

Ensuring patient access to treatment and fostering the environment for innovation remain the defining role for our organization in the coming year. By protecting the highly successful Medicare Part D program that has expanded coverage for over 30 million seniors, opposing restrictive policies like the Affordable Care Act's Independent Payment Advisory Board, and importantly, defending intellectual property and the incentives for innovative therapies - we can make certain that patients can benefit from new therapies that are changing the course of many diseases.

Innovation is at the center of our mission this year and every year. We must look to create a broader understanding of a system that works in this country. Intellectual property incentivizes innovation, which leads to new breakthroughs while allowing earlier therapies to move to a new phase as lower-cost generics. Medical innovation has been at the core of advancements in health and economic prosperity over the course of the last century. Through broad access to better medicines, we have decreased the rate of death from infectious disease by 96 percent and increased life expectancy 62 percent in that time. Over the past 50 years, medical innovation can also be attributed to half of all economic growth.

Just think what we can do in the years ahead. A new treatment that delayed the onset of Alzheimer's disease by five years could reduce the number of people with the disease 45 percent by 2050 - saving $447 billion in costs to current programs. Just a one percent decrease in deaths from cancer could generate $500 billion in societal benefit.

With our efforts, these goals can be achieved, but we must preserve and strengthen the environment that allows this medical innovation and patient access to flourish. At this year's annual meeting, I am excited to take the next step with each of you.

 

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