The Catalyst

Most Recent Posts


There's been some chatter in the blogosphere lately around our sector's commitment to transparency in clinical trials, with an unfortunate lack of clarity and context. To set the record straight, here's a quick historical overview of our considerable and consistent efforts in this important area.

03.22.12 | By Greg Lopes

Unless you have a keen interest in health policy - or you've had a personal experience in recent years - you probably haven't spent much time thinking about specialty tiers in health plan formularies. While not exactly dinner conversation in most circles, it's important for people to realize how a specialty tier can put patients' health at risk. Why? It restricts access to needed treatments.


There's some huge news in brain research today: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen just pledged $300 million to the Allen Institute to promote open-science research on brain circuitry. That donation will help to double the Allen Institute's staff and fund the first four years of a ten-year project, whose plans for "brain observatories" read like something out of a science fiction movie.

03.22.12 | By Preet Bilinski

For me certain things seem to happen every day.

03.20.12 | By Kate Connors

This morning, I lost someone dear to me to cancer.

He isn't the first person I've lost, nor will he be the last, I'm afraid.

In healthcare, there's a pretty common phrase: "a cure for cancer." But when you watch someone you love go through it, you understand that there's no such thing. There are thousands of cancers and each one attacks the body differently. Because of this, there can be no common cure.

03.20.12 | By Kate Connors

Recently, I spent a few moments watching an interview with author and consultant Simon Sinek, in which he defines innovation and "the application of technology to solve human problems."

03.19.12 | By Greg Lopes

The latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) spending estimates show, once again, that the Medicare prescription drug benefit's competitive, market-based structure is leading to much lower than expected overall program costs - while continuing to deliver medicines to seniors at affordable costs.

Seniors love it and it lowers costs: check out this infographic on Part D's success.


A recent article in Newsweek brought to light to an interesting project, spearheaded by a Long Island Alzheimer's researcher Peter Davies, to sequence the entire genome of about 1,000 Alzheimer's patients over the next three to four years.


Dr. Patricia Robinson, an African American oncologist in Chicago, certainly captured the attention of reporters at a recent roundtable on clinical trials of new medicines attended by journalists from Chicago-area Latino American, African American and Asian American community newspapers.


More than half of Americans doubt this country's ability to keep global research and development leadership. That was the focus of the Research!America forum I attended yesterday with PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani.

03.14.12 | By Kate Connors

Along with this year's must-pass reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, it is also time to reauthorize the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) and Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA), which are intended to increase research conducted about use of medicines in children. We hope that Congress will permanently reauthorize this legislation, which will provide the certainty needed to encourage companies to embark on years-long pediatric studies.


Later today, PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani will be participating in Research!America's annual National Health Research Forum: World Class to 2nd Class -- Confronting the Risks to U.S. Science and Innovation.

03.12.12 | By Kate Connors

Writer Carl Zimmer had a thought-provoking book review in The Wall Street Journal over the weekend.


Take a look at the thoughts of Dr. Michael Hodin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations writing in the Fiscal Times. His piece looks at how technological and medical innovation is needed to meet requirements of an aging population. He writes:


There are some more warning signs today of the incredible cost of dementia to both patients and our economy.

03.07.12 | By Preet Bilinski

We continue the conversation of rare diseases as a global health challenge with Lundbeck's Dr. Christopher Silber. Offering effective therapies is a fundamental component of the commitment to help improve the lives of people with challenging, unmet medical needs. At Lundbeck the focus is on making a difference for patients, no matter how complex the condition.

What compelled you to join the fight against rare diseases?


Washington, D.C. (March 6, 2012) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Matt Bennett issued the following statement:

“AARP has released yet another misleading pricing report that ignores key facts about the marketplace for prescription medicines and paints an inaccurate picture of prescription drug spending in the U.S.


It's a startling moment, when what seems like a distant problem hits close to home. In a one-stoplight town in Eastern Kentucky, my neighbor's alarming descriptions of prescription drug abuse were as distantly vague to me as someone attempting to explain what New York City felt like; it just didn't compute. Up until I encountered it firsthand, I'd heard gossip about locals getting addicted to pain pills but it seemed like an apparition, something blown out of proportion in a hairdresser's hyperbole.

03.05.12 | By Preet Bilinski

As a pretty healthy person, the only time I really struggle to breathe is after a long grueling run. But for individuals with asthma it can be a common occurrence. Today, more than 24 million American adults and children suffer from asthma, with that number continuing to grow, according to the CDC. Asthma is a narrowing of the airways to the lungs caused by inflammation in the air passages, resulting from both genetic and environmental influences. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and coughing tightness in the chest.

03.02.12 | By Preet Bilinski

Today, we have a guest post from Eileen Cannon, Executive Director for the PhRMA Foundation. Below, Eileen discusses the challenges and the progress made by the PhRMA Foundation fellows in regard to rare disease research.