Week in Review: The Value of Patient Health

Week in Review: The Value of Patient Health

04.18.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

When #PhRMA14 concluded last week, we walked away from our 56th Annual Meeting with new ideas and perspectives to keep pushing the industry forward. The speakers and attendees discussed a number of important topics, and this week we focused on the value of and access to innovative medicines for patients in need.

While the value of innovative new medicines remains high, spending on medication remains at all-time low levels, according to a recently released IMS Health report. The research and development (R&D) pipeline has been transforming patient care, and just last year we saw the launch of the largest number of orphan drugs in ten years in addition to the approval of ten new cancer treatments. Often, media reports around new medicines focus on their cost without stressing the value that they provide patients and the U.S. health care system as a whole. In fact, effective treatments have the potential to reduce expensive doctor and hospital visits.

On Tuesday we highlighted a Bloomberg article that discussed potential new treatments for Hepatitis C. These medicines could result in promising health benefits for patients living with the disease, such as fewer side effects and less follow-up care. Currently, Hepatitis C is a debilitating condition that affects more than four million Americans and has the potential to triple its death toll in the U.S. over the next 20 years. The Bloomberg piece clearly articulated the potential value these medications could provide, and it is important that patients explore all treatment options and assess their benefits to make informed decisions about what course of action is best.

Ensuring indigent patients suffering from Hepatitis C, HIV, cancer or other diseases receive the care they need is also critical. Through the federal 340B program, millions of uninsured and vulnerable patients have gained access to needed treatments at a discount. A new report from the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B, however, found that two-thirds of participating hospitals deliver less charity care than the average of all other non-participating hospitals. Given this staggering fact, this week’s Conversations forum asked how we can ensure the 340B program is providing medicines to the patients that need them. Read experts responses here  and provide your own feedback on the question.

The health of our nation’s patients is the biopharmaceutical industry’s top priority, and we hope to continue to provide options for patients and access to life-changing medications to treat some of the most devastating diseases. Check back in with the Catalyst for more information on what is coming through the pipeline and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.  

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