Can I have my SOTU with some INNOVATION please?

Can I have my SOTU with some INNOVATION please?

01.23.12 | By Jennifer Wall

I am very much looking forward to hearing what President Obama has to say during his annual State of the Union (SOTU) address tomorrow night. This year's address will be particularly interesting due to the fact that it is an election year and there are a lot of important issues that will most likely be addressed, including the state of the economy and jobs.

As we all heard last year, the President focused a good part of his speech on the importance of innovation to help ensure that the U.S. retains its competitive edge over other nations like China and India. Reacting to last year's SOTU, John J. Castellani, PhRMA's President and CEO said, "While innovation and American competitiveness were central themes in the President's address, we believe that medical innovation specifically will continue to play a crucial role in advancing patient health and spurring economic growth in the U.S." Castellani also stressed that our global leadership in medical progress, and the domestic jobs and economic output that goes along with it, is ours to lose if our nation's leaders don't support policies that help preserve and nurture future medical innovation.

A year later, the biopharmaceutical industry is still hoping for the President to offer a sound innovation platform that contains detailed solutions on how the U.S. can retain its global leadership in medical progress. Our leadership in this area is critical if we want to continue to make inroads in the fight against disease, including some of the deadliest diseases facing mankind.

Over the last few decades, we have seen increased survival rates for childhood cancers and reduced death rates from heart disease and strokes, and now HIV/AIDS, which was once considered a death sentence for patients, is seen as a manageable chronic disease. Progress like this can continue, but government and industry must work together - not against one another - to move the innovation goal post forward. Another way to get there is to ensure that we have a regulatory and legislative environment in which innovation is encouraged and rewarded.

Many people have asked us (PhRMA) what we'd like the President to talk about during his state of the union address tomorrow night. In fact, National Journal asked John J. Castellani this very question just last week and I urge you to check out his response here. The biggest takeaway is that Castellani would like the President to delve deeper and cast a wider net on the topic of innovation and put forth an innovation agenda that recognizes the importance of medical progress to patient health, jobs and the U.S. economy.

Now, I'd like the pose the same question to all of the Catalyst readers. What is it that you'd like the President to focus on in his State of the Union address tomorrow night?

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