The Catalyst

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I'm a little bit obsessed with layman's astronomy - I downloaded NASA's phone app within hours of getting my new Smartphone and excitedly check the news for Higgs-Boson updates. The geek in me gets a toe-tingle when unrelated fields of research interact with one another and they renovate each other's thinking; this TEDx talk about interactions between astronomers and neurologists is a fascinating example.

01.18.12 | By Kate Connors

It's no secret that some patients across the country have faced drug shortages, and this is an issue that we take very seriously. Unfortunately, it is not a problem that is easily remedied.


For a while now I've intended to use my little Nike tracking device that can be attached to my running shoe and connected to my Nano. Big-brother-is-watching-me paranoia aside, it would be a great monitoring tool as I "train" for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler (though less effective on a treadmill).

01.17.12 | By Kate Connors

There's a buzz going on today, caused by an article in The New York Times about government oversight of biopharmaceutical research company payments to physicians. These payments, as our web site's sales and marketing page explains, are compensation for important educational and research services provided by expert physicians.

01.13.12 | By Kate Connors

This morning, I was speaking with fellow blog contributor Jeff Trewhitt - who himself credits a medicine with saving his life when he was diagnosed with a very rare cancer - about how the biopharmaceutical sector is seen as not being innovative anymore.

As Jeff pointed out, that view is wrong - in reality, companies are more innovative than ever before.

01.12.12 | By Preet Bilinski

Children are not "small adults" when it comes to medicine, a fact pointed out in a recent article in NIH's Winter edition of Medline Magazine. Parents want nothing but the best for their children and previously that was hard to determine when it came to medicines. Historically, many FDA-approved drugs had not been studied in pediatric populations, resulting in inadequate or unavailable information on dosing, safety, efficacy and side effects.

01.12.12 | By Kate Connors

According to an Associated Press article in the Washington Post that caught my eye today, India has reached a remarkable - and admittedly surprising - milestone: one full year without any new diagnoses of polio.

01.11.12 | By Kate Connors

Today I'm pleased to introduce to Catalyst readers PhRMA's new vice president of scientific affairs, Dr. Salvatore Alesci. Dr. Alesci has worked in research at the government level, for the National Institutes of Health, as well as for several biopharmaceutical research companies. Today, I sat down with Dr. Alesci to ask him a few questions about his experiences and his thoughts about the future of R&D.

How did you get into the field of biopharmaceutical research and development?


A steady stream of state legislatures is coming back into session throughout the month, and considering that most states have budget shortfalls, Medicaid is likely to emerge as a popular target for cuts.

01.10.12 | By Greg Lopes

Yesterday, the government released its annual report on how much we're spending as a country on health care goods and services. Formally known as the National Health Expenditure Accounts, the government research shows a continued rate of historically low spending growth for retail prescription medicines.

01.09.12 | By Kate Connors

I hate cancer. I have too many friends and loved ones battling this awful disease right now - though, admittedly, even one is one too many.

Fortunately, as of very recently, one of those friends is winning her fight.


It is worth checking out an interesting blog piece that ran in The Washington Post over the weekend about the government funding military innovation. Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe that the government also funds the majority of biopharmaceutical innovation, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

01.06.12 | By Greg Lopes

An article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) presents some exciting news on the fight against HIV/AIDS. New research, to be published Wednesday in the journal Nature, shows that some investigational new vaccines may protect monkeys against a powerful strain of the virus.


Evidence of recent progress in our collective fight against cancer continued yesterday with the American Cancer Society's annual report, Cancer Statistics, 2012. According to ACS, between 1990/1991 and 2008, overall death rates from cancer fell by approximately 23 percent in men and 15 percent in women - meaning that more than a million deaths from cancer were prevented.

01.05.12 | By Kate Connors

Associated Press reporter Linda Johnson wrote a great article this week (find it here on the Chicago Tribune's site) about medication adherence. I hate to say it's an exhaustive commentary on adherence, since that's a pretty big issue to cover, but she captures a lot - including, importantly, tips about programs, apps and resources to help patients adhere.

For example:


For some important perspective on some of challenges and questions we at PhRMA will be focusing on during 2012 and into the future, take a look at PhRMA President John Castellani's contribution to Chain Drug Review's annual "Pharmacy Outlook '12" issue.

01.03.12 | By Kate Connors

In case you haven't yet heard, FDA recently launched a blog, FDA Voice, as part of its recent Website redesign. Kicked off by a post from Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the blog promises to "give you insights on some of the most pressing public health issues of the day."