The Catalyst

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03.22.11 | By Kate Connors

On Friday, The Hill's Congress Blog ran a column by PhRMA's President and CEO, John Castellani, in which he argues about America's global leadership in medical innovation that "the time for a national policy of support is now."


Our last blog post looked at the big picture of the value of cancer treatment advances.

Let's now look at the value medicines bring in treating other conditions. In the 1990s, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis was considered a death sentence. Today, it's a treatable chronic disease. The number of U.S. AIDS deaths has decreased dramatically following the introduction of highly active antitretroviral treatments and have continued to decline.


This is another one of those "connect the dots" posts. There's good news out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they're reporting that U.S. death rates have fallen for the 10th year in a row. Average life expectancy in the U.S. at birth is now 78.2 years and up from 78 years since 2008.


In recent years, the United States has seen significant progress in the fight against cancer. In 2008, the American Cancer Society reported for the first time a decline in the number of deaths from all cancers - in both men and women.

Medicines are a key factor contributing to the advances in cancer treatment. Since 1980, life expectancy for cancer patients has increased about three years - and 83% of those gains are attributable to new treatments, including medicines.

03.18.11 | By Kate Connors

We've written repeatedly on The Catalyst in about the importance of adherence to medicines for improved health and, ultimately, healthcare services.

An analysis by Harvard Medical School and sponsored by PhRMA helps to drive home that point.


Last week, FDA announced a new campaign to address poor adherence to medicines. The agency will provide grant funding to the National Consumers League to support efforts to raise awareness of the importance of medication adherence and effect change in behaviors to increase adherence and improve health outcomes.


PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani was one of the invited speakers today at a symposium of global health challenges hosted by the U.S. State Department.

John spoke about what America's biopharmaceutical research companies are doing to help in the fight against disease that most affect patients in the developing world and especially neglected tropical diseases.


I encourage everyone to take a look at the interview with PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani about PhRMA's agenda now featured in PharmaExec magazine.

03.16.11 | By Kate Connors

There was no way I was going to let Grady write this post.

The National Association for Female Executives just came out with its list of the top 50 companies for executive women, and eight of PhRMA's member companies were on the list. That deserves a good amount of pride.

According to NAFE, they named organizations that recognize the benefits "to be reaped by capitalizing on what women bring to the table."


Yesterday, we wrote about GAO's report on drug prices - and similar research conducted by economists from MIT and IMS health. In both cases, the research took into account a mix of both brand-name and generic dugs when calculating drug prices - which reflects the way the market works.

Now, let's take a look at overall spending trends for prescription medicines. Government data tell us that the spending growth rate for medicines has declined considerably in recent years, reaching historic lows.

03.16.11 | By Kate Connors

As the distinguished panel assembled by Research!America made clear in yesterday's National Press Club event, the economic future for the U.S. is brightest when domestic research and development flourishes.

The biotech start-ups of yesterday are the emerging biopharmaceutical research companies of today that are responsible for a growing number of new medical advances.

But who are these companies?

03.15.11 | By Kate Connors

Yesterday, I had a visit from a high school friend who is in town as part of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology "Hill Day," when the ASBMB brings young academic researchers to Washington to discuss the importance of federal support for scientific research.

Eric is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, where he spends his days trying to cure cancer, he says humbly.


Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on drug prices. A key finding in the report shows prices are increasing at a rate lower than medical inflation. According to GAO, when accounting for "the growing national shift in consumer utilization from brand-name to generic versions of drugs," prices for the top 100 medicines increased 2.6 percent annually between 2006 and 2010. Over this period, medical inflation increased 3.8 percent.

03.15.11 | By Kate Connors

Today PhRMA is releasing our annual R&D numbers, in which we track how much America's biopharmaceutical research companies invested in 2010 on the discovery and development of tomorrow's potential new medicines.


The Hill reports that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recommitted himself to helping stop the flow of counterfeit medicines into the U.S. Here's some of what Leahy had to say: