The Catalyst



Yesterday, ASCO held a panel entitled, “Can We Find Common Ground? Stakeholder Perspectives on Value in Cancer.” At the tail end, a woman stepped to the mike to make an observation to the panelists. Describing herself as a patient and an advocate, she declared that she heard little in the presentations about patient-reported outcomes, particularly in reference to ASCO's value initiative that is in the works.

05.31.14 | By Robert Zirkelbach

In case you missed it, The Hill featured an op-ed by PhRMA President and CEO John J.


The cost of innovative new medicines to treat devastating diseases such as cancer and Hepatitis C has been a hot discussion topic this week. A critical part of this discussion – the value of these treatments – however, has been overlooked.

05.30.14 | By Sascha Haverfield, Ph.D.

Each patient facing a life-threatening disease lives with the hope that tomorrow will bring a new medicine to extend and improve his or her life.  As a scientist, a new father, and as someone who lost a parent to stage IV lung cancer far too early in life, it is gut-wrenching to admit that modern drug development continues to be a highly challenging and far too often unsuccessful endeavor. 

05.30.14 | By Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D.

Ken Thorpe, Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD)

05.29.14 | By John Castellani

It is penny wise and pound foolish to focus solely on the price of a new medicine while completely ignoring the value it provides to patients and the health care system broadly.  Curing Hepatitis C not only dramatically improves patients’ lives, but has the potential to save the U.S.

05.27.14 | By Robert Zirkelbach

Recently, there has been a significant amount of conversation around the cost and value of innovative medicines, especially those intended for patients who suffer from chronic, debilitating diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C and cancer. Providing benefit not only for patients, but the overall U.S. health care system, it’s important that we keep in mind short- and long-term human, economic and societal implications as we work together to address these costly illnesses head on.


Across our health care system, it’s critical that patients always remain at the center of our shared efforts to improve, extend and save lives. For PhRMA and the industry writ-large, this is a bedrock mindset and ongoing access to innovative medicines represents health care’s best shot at preventing and managing costly chronic diseases. This week, we focused on the importance of patient access – along with safety – both in the United States and around the globe.

05.23.14 | By Robert Zirkelbach

The New York Times’ The Upshot recently ran a piece by Aaron Carrol, “People With Chronic Illness Fare Worse Under Cost-Sharing,” looking at the impact cost-sharing has on consumers.  Here are a few highlights from the article:

05.23.14 | By Mark Grayson

Through innovative immunization practices, smallpox has been eradicated, polio and measles have nearly been eradicated and diseases like hepatitis A and B and some forms of cancer have been prevented. Vaccines have profoundly impacted patient health, and while their success has been life altering for millions of people around the world, there is still progress to be made.

05.23.14 | By John Castellani

Mental illness, whether we realize it or not impacts us all. 61.5 million Americans or one in four has a mental illness. The statistics can be alarming when you take a deeper look: One in 20 U.S. children has ADHD, 21 million American adults currently suffer from depression, and 40 million Americans have some type of anxiety disorder. But there is hope.


Hepatitis C impacts an estimated 3.2 million Americans. Between 60 and 70% of those with hepatitis C develop chronic liver disease, between 5 and 20% will eventually develop cirrhosis, and an estimated 12,000 die from hepatitis C related illness each year.

05.22.14 | By Scott LaGanga

China’s Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning to patients that it cannot guarantee the safety, authenticity and efficacy of cancer medicines purchased online. The new warning was issued after a study by drug regulators in Shenzhen found that 75 percent of foreign cancer medicines purchased online were found to be counterfeit or ineffective.

05.22.14 | By Mark Grayson

Yesterday, stakeholders had an opportunity to meet with and present to negotiators participating in the fifth round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks taking place in Arlington, Virginia.


The Atlantic today led a discussion around the value and cost of innovative medicines.  This is an important topic and one that all partners in the U.S. health care system must continue to discuss.  Most importantly, patient voices need to be a part of any discussion around the value of innovative medicines.  As this debate moves forward, here are some additional facts that need to be a part of the discussion.  

05.21.14 | By Mark Grayson

President Obama has proclaimed this week “World Trade Week” to raise awareness about the importance of expanding the U.S. international trade footprint in order to generate jobs.

05.20.14 | By Stephanie Fischer

While today is International Clinical Trials Day, at PhRMA we recognize the groundbreaking advances in medicine made possible by clinical trials and the critical contribution of the patients who volunteer in clinical trials every day.

05.19.14 | By John Castellani

Last week, after an election process that took more than a month to complete with a record 550 million votes cast, the Indian people elected a new Prime Minister in a landslide election that unseated the country’s ruling Congress party.  Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won enough seats in the lower house of Parliament to form a government.


Our member companies strive every day to bring innovative new medicines and treatments into the market to improve the lives of patients, both in the United States and abroad.  Access to high-quality medicines is our common goal and top priority. Unfortunately, some health plans now being offered make it more difficult for people to get access to the medicines they need.


There have been a lot of discussions lately about the value and cost of cancer medicines – it is also an issue that will be raised at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) annual meeting.