#PhRMA12 Conversations: Jim Firman, NCOA

#PhRMA12 Conversations: Jim Firman, NCOA

04.05.12 | By Christian Clymer

Recently, I was lucky to catch up with Jim Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), and discuss PhRMA's upcoming Annual Meeting. Jim and I have been working with each other for more than 8 years., having both worked on programs to help increase access to medicine for American's most vulnerable patients.

Jim's tireless advocacy on behalf of seniors is inspiring. NCOA's mission is to improve the lives of millions of older Americans, particularly those who are disadvantaged, through their many programs and advocacy. NCOA's BenefitsCheckUp.org is currently celebrating 10 years of helping seniors get access to assistance programs of all types, including PhRMA-member patient assistance programs.

He has attended other annual meetings, so I was eager to get his perspective on our 2012 meeting. He told me that he hopes that "consumer groups and the industry can have a much more creative conversation about how to really move the needle on major issues that face this country. Not only how do we bring to scale proven innovations, but how do we change the ecosystem which will really allow for the type of innovation and the delivery and patient behaviors that will really lead to a healthier future for our country."

The older Americans that Jim represents simply want "to be able to live their lives pain-free and as healthy as possible." To achieve those goals, he hopes to see industry reach out to consumer groups in a different way. He would like the conversation to begin with a shared population-level goal in mind and then identify a shared path forward. To Jim, success would be a partnership between consumer groups, philanthropy, industry and the government working together for patients and their families.

Finally, I asked Jim about his passion for NCOA. He told me, "At NCOA we are passionate about improving the lives of older adults because we owe them a great debt. In addition, we are all aging, and we want to create a better future for ourselves."

I was glad to catch up with Jim. See an excerpt of our chat below, and then share your thoughts. What partnership do you see as being valuable to the future of health care?

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