Innovative Oncology Medicines Have Led to Impressive Gains in Patient Survivorship

Innovative Oncology Medicines Have Led to Impressive Gains in Patient Survivorship

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 31, 2013) – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John J. Castellani released the following statement highlighting the value of innovative cancer medicines for patients, the economy and the U.S. health care system:

“As leaders in the oncology community convene at the 2013 Association of Clinical Oncology meeting to share the latest developments in cancer research, it is important to put into context the invaluable contributions that biopharmaceutical companies have made in the fight against these terrible diseases. Innovative medicines have led to impressive advancements in patient care and survivorship, allowing millions of cancer patients to spend more quality time with their loved ones. 

“Over the last two decades, we have witnessed a 20 percent decline in the cancer death rate, in large part due to innovative medicines.  The childhood cancer survival rate is 80 percent today; in 1970, it was 50 percent.  Between 1988 and 2000, improvements in cancer survival created 23 million additional life years and roughly $1.9 trillion of additional value to society, according to the Journal of Health Economics.  And, treatment advances for chronic myeloid leukemia have increased 10-year survival from less than 20 percent to more than 80 percent, according to the American Journal of Managed Care.  These remarkable gains in cancer patient survivorship are invaluable to the millions of suffering patients – and their families – who want nothing more than to win their battle against disease. 

“With more than 5,000 medicines in the biopharmaceutical pipeline, including more than 3,000 potential medicines for cancer patients, the future looks bright for continued progress. Seventy percent of the medicines in the pipeline are potential first‐in‐class medicines that can help patients with serious unmet medical needs, and among cancer drugs in development, 80 percent are potential first‐in‐class treatments.

“America is the bedrock of biopharmaceutical innovation.  It is the worldwide hub of biomedical R&D and ranks first in the world in life sciences employment, with biopharmaceutical companies alone supporting nearly four million jobs. And over 50 years, improved health and medical innovation has been the source of more than half of all economic growth in the U.S.

“Innovative medicines also are helping to control healthcare costs, as reflected in the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term view that medicines can reduce spending on expensive hospitalizations, procedures and other acute and chronic care. To fully achieve the promise of innovation for patients, our healthcare system and American jobs, policymakers need to recognize the value of innovative medicines. Public policies that support medical innovation and encourage continued collaboration within the biopharmaceutical ecosystem are critical if we want a world free of cancer and other deadly diseases.”

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