Highlights of John Castellani’s CNBC Squawk Box Appearance

Highlights of John Castellani’s CNBC Squawk Box Appearance

04.11.11 By Grady Forrer

Day Two
[10:05 a.m.]

Two Women Scientists Honored with PhRMA’s 2011 Discoverers Award

There are a lot of interesting discussions and events during PhRMA’s Annual Meeting, but one regular event is always special. That is the annual awarding of PhRMA’s Discoverers Award.

This year, the Discoverers Award honored two women scientists for their work on creating the first new oral medication to treat diabetes in over a decade.

Nancy Thornberry and Ann Weber were recognized for their leadership in the discovery of JANUVIA ®, a once-daily pill that helps patients with type 2 diabetes control glucose in conjunction with diet and exercise. This was the first time in the award's 24 year history that two women have been recognized.

If you’ve got a minute, watch their inspiring story on video

Day One
[4:30 p.m.] 
Some highlights from Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter’s CNBC interview from PhRMA’s annual meeting.

On the future of health care reform and what PhRMA and the industry’s goals from the budget debate:

“When we supported health care reform, we did so on a principled basis.

“We said we wanted to do so in a way that helps sustain innovation, in a way that avoids price controls and in a way that avoids people not having access to the full range of treatments available.

“Those principals still stand. And, as the debate goes forward, that will be our voice.”

On President Obama’s proposals to strengthen IPAB:

“The President’s proposal to strengthen IPAB is problematic.

“Frankly, IPAB itself is problematic for [the industry], for some Democrats, for some Republicans and its problematic for about 75 other organizations who are concerned that we have an independent body making decisions about what does or doesn’t get paid for and at what level.”

On Medicare rebates:

“We fought against those rebates in Medicare and I think we have an ally, for example, in the Congressional Budget Office who says: if you look at rebates vs. competition – which is what we currently have – your going to see premiums go up for seniors. And, you’re going to see less money and less jobs devoted to R&D.

“Today, Medicare Part D – the drug benefit – costs 40% less than what had been estimated when the program was enacted in the middle part of the last decade. The reason is competition between plans, competition that in our [industry’s] case lowers the access cost for medicines.”

[2:05 p.m.] As a Duke Alum, it is thrilling to see Coach K speaking at the PhRMA Annual Meeting on the live stream broadcast.

One thing he said really strikes home for many who work in the biopharmaceutical sector. He asked the assembled industry: “When is your moment of triumph? It isn’t when you sell something, because if all you are doing is selling something, shame on you. Your moment of triumph is when you cure someone or help them with a treatment that helps them to get better.”

It is a sentiment that is the driving force for many of the nearly 650,000 Americans who work in this industry.

[1:45 p.m.] PhRMA’s president and CEO John Castellani appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning and talked about PhRMA’s Annual Meeting and agenda over the next year. 

John was asked about PhRMA’s goals for the meeting and for the organization over the next year:

“We're going to be focusing on what we need to do to continue to allow this great engine of innovation in the United States to develop new medicines, to treat patients' diseases, to cure disease. We're talking what we need to do to have the kind of scientific ecosystem that supports that innovation. And third, what we need to do to make sure that this economic engine—which… is one of the highest contributors not only to GDP, but we are the highest in research and development per employee—what we need to do to keep that sustained and to grow jobs. So it's a full agenda.”

He was than asked why so much of the globe’s biopharmaceutical research and development is centered in the U.S.:

“We have the scientific base here that's necessary…It's not just our scientists, it's the colleges, universities, private researchers, hospitals, clinical researchers we need to support the system. We have had up to this point, although that's still in the balance, the kind of tax policy and tax structure that promote investment. And we've will the kind of health care system that enhances the use of medicines, particularly in prevention and management of disease, all of which caused this industry to be moved from Europe—where it was centered for years and years—to the United States and where we are the leading research and development area for medicines by far around the world.”

When asked about the value of medicines to patients and the role they must play in our health care system, John responded:

“Let me give you one example facing the nation that is just horrible and daunting. And that's Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association says if we do nothing about the disease, by the year 2050, it will cost the nation $1 trillion a year. Now, that doesn't even count the horrible, horrible impact on the patients, on the caregivers and the families. But the nation can't afford that.

“If we can develop a medicine that can just delay the onset of Alzheimer's by five years, not only do you benefit the patients, but you could save over $450 billion a year. So to invest in the medicine that prevents the disease is the smartest approach that we can provide so that not only meets the patient's needs, but you meet the nation's fiscal needs.”

Finally, John was asked to comment on government proposals that could limit the free market and the ability of biopharmaceutical research companies to research and develop innovative new medicines:

“That's where we're at risk. What the President proposed yesterday. We all know we need to get our deficit under control, but you don't want to get it under control by risking the future and the future ability to grow and to innovate. The President has proposed we impose price controls. The system is working quite well—Medicare Part D. He also proposed you shorten the period of data protection and patent exclusivity for very complex medicines, the next wave of medicines, the biologics. The rest of the world recognizes that you have to have 12, 13, 14 years if you're going to induce people to put the billions of dollars that go into these new medicines. So if you take that away, it makes us less competitive.”


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