Week in Review

Recognizing the Value of New Medicines

03.29.13 By Kaelan Hollon

This week, many of our Catalyst posts explored the value of medicinal development and its ability to improve the lives of patients. Although moving new drugs through the rigorous approval process is expensive and time consuming, several major triumphs for scientists and clinicians recently verified the value of investing in innovative research and development, citing the long-term human and economic benefits.

The Catalyst weighed in on an article on NBC News that discussed recent advances in the early detection of cancer. Researchers found that certain biomarkers can help to better predict the gene variant that leads to certain cancers, which affect over 2.5 million people. The study was a product of collaboration among 160 research institutions, and while its findings aren’t the sole predictor of cancer risk, it represents the benefits of expanding research and development. The 2012 Medicines in Development Report on cancer estimated that while it costs around $1.2 billion to get a new drug from the laboratory to patients, the total cost of cancer annually is $226.8 billion. By growing the number of patients who survive cancer through new medicines, we can reduce overall costs for individuals and the health-care system writ large.

It is vital that we continue to invest in medical development and basic biomedical science. Reinforcing the value of medicines, Jeff Trewhitt spotlighted the research of Dr. Curtis Triplett, an assistant professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. A speaker at the rollout of the new report "Research in Your Backyard: Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in Texas," Dr. Triplett reviewed how his work gives hope to the 20 million Americans suffering from Diabetes nationwide. Dr. Triplett also encouraged states to use incentives to build up research infrastructure to boost their economies. State Senator Bob Deuell and Representative Jim Murphy are partnering with the biopharmaceutical industry by sponsoring research and development tax credit legislation that will provide revenue for local researchers.

In an economy frequently looking for cost cutting measures, we can’t cut corners on innovative research and development. New medicines provide value beyond cost savings. In short, they provide hope for millions worldwide.

We welcome your comments, ideas and feedback, so be sure to visit the Catalyst to learn more about ongoing initiatives and weigh in with your perspective.


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