The Catalyst

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08.26.11 | By Kate Connors

Since launching The Catalyst earlier this year, we've covered a number of economic, health and policy issues that, regardless of outcome, stand to impact millions worldwide. In our first post, we made the point that none of us have all the answers, which makes it especially critical that we hear from a range of experts, thought leaders and Catalyst readers to get to the bottom of key issues.


Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Google had agreed to forfeit $500 million generated by on-line advertising and prescription drug sales by Canadian on-line pharmacies. Critically, the DOJ settlement found that the sales of these questionable imported medicines put patients and consumers at risk and violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Controlled Substances Act.


If you've not already done so, I highly recommend you take a look at the new PhRMA video highlighting one woman's efforts to live with and overcome arthritis. Melinda Winner's story is inspirational, as is her fight against arthritis and zest for living her life to the fullest. What's important to remember is that the challenges she faces daily - and how she copes with the disease - are not unique. Ms. Winner's story is just one of the many stories of patients and their families finding ways to live with disease.


On Monday, I wrote on the importance of being prepared for an emergency. I did so thinking of Hurricane Irene. We're expecting some contact with Irene as it rolls up the East Coast, so I thought it was a good time to remind everyone of the general value of emergency preparedness.


"Horrifying," that's how one of my colleagues here described this item detailing the growing toll of the diabetes pandemic. The bottom line? One in four adults in the U.S. now has diabetes, a number that has doubled in just the past 30 years.


Hurricane Irene came ashore over Puerto Rico this weekend. It could potentially affect parts of the U.S. mainland including, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This is a good time to remind everyone whether living in these states or not how it important it is to plan for emergencies.

08.21.11 | By Kate Connors

Biopharmaceutical research companies are dedicated to bringing medicines to the patients we serve. That's why helping to ensure reliable patient access to these life-saving medicines is a key goal of our companies. Many drug shortages involve generic drugs, according to FDA.


First, saw this interesting report: cures for new diseases come from old medicines. Now, coming from an organization that represents innovative medicine makers, it may seem strange to highlight that older, probably generic medicines may have new applications. But what strikes me, however, is that it is really a story about science, innovation and the power of ideas.

08.19.11 | By Kate Connors
Following up on our conversation with arthritis activist and patient Kelly Rouba, we had a chance to talk to Kim Warren to get a parent's perspective on life with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
08.18.11 | By Kate Connors

It likely won't have clinical implications - in other words, it won't replace the current gold standard for detecting cancer - but this study (covered by CNN) in the European Respiratory Journal found that dogs may be able to identify lung cancer by smell.

It just proves that dogs are good for more than rescuing Timmy from trouble down at the Old Mill.


This is a "they missed the real story" story. Yesterday, Phama Times ran a story on the effort of a small group of Congressmen to keep biosimilars out of any Trans-Pacific trade deal. The story was factual so far as it goes and, certainly, it did note PhRMA's long-standing position on biosimilars data protection:

08.16.11 | By Kate Connors

Until yesterday, biopharmaceutical research companies were allowed to disable comments from users on certain Facebook pages. This helped companies ensure that those pages were sources of accurate information, though it meant they were removing some ability to engage the public in a dialogue.

08.15.11 | By Kate Connors

As part of our current emphasis on arthritis awareness - based on our recent release of our Medicines in Development report on musculoskeletal disorders - we sat down recently to speak with Kelly Rouba, who has lived with arthritis for most of her life.

08.10.11 | By Kate Connors

You may have noticed that we've been writing a lot about Medicare Part D lately, but with good reason. From lowered nondrug costs to decreased premiums, there are so many successes of the Medicare prescription drug benefit to celebrate these days.


Austin Frakt over at the Incidental Economist weighs in on the recent JAMA study on the value of the Medicare Part D program. The JAMA study found that Part D saves Medicare about $1,200 per year in hospital, nursing home and other costs for each senior who previously lacked comprehensive prescription drug coverage.

A great movie script is about allowing the audience to suspend their disbelief. Science fiction movies, in particular, require great imagination and an ability to credibly postulate alternative realities. All of which brings me to the new movie that premiered this weekend: The Rise of the Battle for the Planet of the Apes.  
The list of inefficient and costly government programs in America today is a long one. But at least one program is performing far better than expected and is costing less than anyone ever anticipated - it's Medicare Part D. Part D's success is remarkable. It's a federal program that seniors like, it's saving them money on their medicines and it's helping them stay healthy. That means reducing their need for some of the most costly health care services like hospitalizations and nursing homes.
08.04.11 | By Kate Connors
Recently Merck researcher Dr. Rupert Vessey sat down with PhRMA to talk about arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, and the importance of treatment in this field.

Last week we were talking a lot about the JAMA study showing how proper use of prescription medicines by Part D beneficiaries is helping to reduce overall Medicare non-drug medical expenditures.

08.01.11 | By Kate Connors
Monday's Wall Street Journal features an op-ed (subscription) by Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, who discusses the difficult balance that the agency strives to achieve between protecting the public health through regulation and promoting innovation and access.