The Catalyst

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After a momentous year, Washington is readying itself for holiday vacation. There's no better indication than my traffic-free commute over the bridge - it was, dare I say, relaxing. I welcome the slower pace not just for the liberation from gridlock; it's a chance to reflect on the year. And on the biopharmaceutical industry front, it was 12 months of major medical advances.
12.15.11 | By Kate Connors
On the Pharmalot blog, Ed Silverman published an interesting op-ed by Brian Reid, a social media expert with WCG, about the lack of FDA guidance on social media.
Here at PhRMA, I'm known as a bit of a road warrior. There's nothing I enjoy more than leaving Washington, D.C. in the rear view mirror to travel around the country on behalf of the biopharmaceutical research industry to meet with reporters, legislators, local business leaders and, sometimes, even university research officials. We've got a story to tell and as a hairy cell leukemia survivor saved by a chemotherapy and some powerful antibiotics, I'm happy to tell it.
12.14.11 | By Preet Bilinski
Hear from Dr. John Pottage, the chief scientific and medical officer for ViiV Healthcare, who has been in the battle against HIV/AIDS since before we even identified the disease. He discusses the improvements that new medicines and therapies have made for patients. But with a new infection occurring every nine and a half minutes, more needs to be done. America's biopharmaceutical companies agree and are continuing their fight against this epidemic with 88 medicines and vaccines in development for HIV/AIDS.
12.13.11 | By Kate Connors
In The Hill's CongressBlog, PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani had an op-ed today about how our federal efforts to stimulate economic growth will undoubtedly lack the momentum they need without a related emphasis on exports - and the biopharmaceutical sector, already a major generator of exports, can help. But we need support.
I recommend taking a look at the new G-FINDER: YEAR 4 report on Neglected Disease Research and Development. Unfortunately, the report describes how funding for neglected disease research by governments and many NGOs declined over the last year. The one exception, the report indicates, is that the pharmaceutical research industry's investment in these diseases went up.
Saw this story about possible new therapy to reverse hemophilia in a couple of outlets over the weekend and wanted to pass it along.
12.09.11 | By Preet Bilinski
I recommend taking a look at the Business World Weekender discussion for World AIDs Day: "Getting to Zero." The campaign's goal is to have zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths. While the article focuses on the Asia Pacific region it is important to keep in mind that this is a disease without boundaries.
12.07.11 | By Kate Connors
Earlier this week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave a speech about the use of mobile information technology in healthcare. She lauded the advancements made in this field, from health IT in doctors' offices to iPad apps that help patients quit smoking.
12.06.11 | By Kate Connors
Today's FDA publication of the biosimilars user fee performance goals letter represents an important step forward in the years-long effort to establish a science-based regulatory pathway for these medicines.
12.05.11 | By Greg Lopes
As you may be aware, the 2012 open enrollment period for Medicare Part D ends this Wednesday, December 7th - three weeks earlier than in previous years. So in this busy holiday season, please also take a moment to sign up for a Part D drug plan. Remember, you can switch plans during the open enrollment period as well, so review your current plan to make sure it still meets your medical needs.

The New York Times health section ran a fascinating story this week on how medicines are helping to revive patients once thought to be in a irreversible vegetative state. There is a lot of work still to be done to understand what is really going on and a lot of "how" and "why" questions are yet to be answered.

Yesterday, the PhRMA Foundation announced that it awarded grants to the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University to develop a graduate-level comparative effectiveness research program, formally known as the PhRMA Foundation Center of Excellence for a Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Educational Program.
12.01.11 | By Preet Bilinski
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as improved therapies, increased access to treatment and prevention services. See how the disease and the world have changed over the last 30 years in this brief video.

Lately, I've gained a bit of weight. In fact, according to the official definitions of "overweight" and "obese," which factor weight and height to determine body mass index (or BMI), I'm teetering between the two categories. For a guy who's always been fairly active, and who sees himself as a decent middle-aged athlete, it's somewhat demoralizing.

In a press release last week, PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani commended sponsors of a bill in Congress that would increase jail sentences for criminals caught selling counterfeit medicines.
11.30.11 | By Kate Connors
There's a phrase I often use - perhaps bordering on overuse. It's that innovation is both cumulative and cyclical. What does this mean?
I wanted to bring to your attention a recent piece by Sarika Bansal in Forbes. Ms. Bansal's piece is entitled "Top Five Ways Big Pharma Can Address Neglected Disease." As well as making some good observations about what is needed in the effort to address neglected diseases around the world, she also does a good job of acknowledging many things that biopharmaceutical research companies are already doing.
11.28.11 | By Kate Connors
Lately, Jen's been doing a great job of highlighting both the strong need for progress in the battle against Alzheimer's Disease and the hard work that is going into fighting that battle.
11.23.11 | By Kate Connors
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, your friendly Catalyst writers took a few minutes to jot down what they're thankful for this year...with a specific mandate to not talk about innovation or advocacy! Here are our answers - we'd love to see what you're thankful for in the comments section. Preet Bilinski: I'm thankful for the health and happiness of my family and friends... for having enough of everything I need... And especially thankful for a holiday focused on chowing down on good food.