Medical Innovation for Patients and America's Economy

Medical Innovation for Patients and America's Economy

07.18.12 | By

PhRMA Chairman John LechleiterDr. John Lechleiter, Chairman of PhRMA's Board of Directors, has a piece worth reading over at Forbes today. Lechleiter writes about how American can lose its global edge - especially when it comes to developing new medicines - unless we do more to promote and reward innovation in this country.

Lechleiter reminds us all of the history of the last 60 or so years, writing:

"Europe provides a cautionary case study. During the 1970s, four large European countries - France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK - accounted for 55 percent of new medicines produced by major nations, while the U.S. share was 31 percent. Indeed, only a few decades ago, Germany was known as "the world's medicine cabinet." Since then, Europe has adopted policies that undermine innovation, including burdensome assessment processes that make it difficult to obtain market access and adequate reimbursement for new medicines. In the most recent decade, 2001 to 2010, there was a complete reversal of fortune, with the U.S. producing 57 percent of newer medicines while the four European countries' share fell to 33 percent."

I, along with others who work in the biopharmaceutical research sector, often talk about how a strong, innovative biopharmaceutical industry is a national treasure. Letting it drip away - as Europe did - would certainly be an economic loss. But it is American patients who would suffer the biggest loss as the research and medical innovation so many hope on to help them live longer, healthier lives would shift away from America. Today, American patients are often the first to experience the rewards of new medical advances, if we are not thoughtful about promoting and rewarding innovation, those patients could move to the back of the global line.

In any event, I recommend taking a look at Dr. Lechleiter's piece.

More On PhRMA — powered by PhRMApedia