The Catalyst

Most Recent Posts

04.05.12 | By Christian Clymer

Recently, I was lucky to catch up with Jim Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and discuss PhRMA's upcoming Annual Meeting. Jim and I have been working with each other for more than 8 years., having both worked on programs to help increase access to medicine for American's most vulnerable patients.

04.05.12 | By Christian Clymer

Happy birthday, PPA.

Seven years ago, PhRMA launched the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. Since then, more than 7 million patients have been matched through the PPA with programs that could help them get their medicines for free or nearly free. Like I do on my own birthday, I'd like to take a moment to look back at how far we've come and be proud of what we've achieved.


Today I read a great story about a police captain in the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy (RCMP) who began issuing "positive tickets" when he saw kids doing something right. The gentleman wrote a book about his theory of rewarding good behavior as well as enforcing bad, and changing the role of the police force and their work with children in a community.

04.04.12 | By Christian Clymer

PhRMA's Annual Meeting is right around the corner. As you've seen in a previous post by our CEO John Castellani, this year's meeting "is appropriately titled 'Making Medicines do More,' and its goal is to better tell the story of America's biopharmaceutical research industry." We are really looking forward to the discussions in the conference rooms and online.

04.03.12 | By Preet Bilinski

The other day, a number of my colleagues and I headed to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C., which PhRMA has been volunteering with since 2007. This year we were working in the Ivy City neighborhood, the location for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter work project, two years ago. Each year since 1984, former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, give a week of their time to help Habitat for Humanity build homes.

03.29.12 | By John Castellani

The date for PhRMA's Annual Meeting is fast approaching (April 11-13 in Boston, MA).


Today, we have a guest post from Marv Shepherd of the University of Texas.

03.28.12 | By Kate Connors

Wall Street Journal reporter Shirley Wang wrong a post for the Health Blog yesterday that was pretty jarring: "Most Parents Don't Fill Their Kids' Asthma Meds."

The original study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was intended to evaluate "whether out-of-pocket costs for medications influenced parents' willingness to fill prescriptions for their children's asthma."


I've documented my astronomy nerd-dom before, so reading the CERN coverage of new imaging tools available to cancer doctors that can help scan and detect diseases earlier gave me a special thrill.


PhRMA's 2012 annual meeting will take place in Boston, a city that many leading biopharmaceutical research companies call home. In many ways, the Greater Boston area is an important hub of biopharmaceutical innovation and considered the center of many collaborative partnerships between industry and academic institutions.

We couldn't have picked a better place to gather and discuss all of the opportunities and challenges the industry faces as the health care and innovation landscape continues to evolve.


The next few weeks will be a swirl of airports and far-flung hotels, as I make my way to Norwalk, CT and Orlando, FL for two conferences on prescription drug abuse.

03.26.12 | By Greg Lopes

We all know governments are looking to save money these days. There are right ways to do it, and there are risky, misguided ways to do it.


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.