Reflections on John Castellani's National Press Club Remarks

Reflections on John Castellani's National Press Club Remarks

09.20.12 | By

PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani spoke this morning about the future of America's biopharmaceutical research industry at a "Newsmaker" program at the National Press Club.

You can see Mr. Castellani's remarks in full here.

The core of his remarks focused on the long-term policies this country needs to foster continued medical innovation for patients, new jobs created by the biopharmaceutical industry and the role innovative medicines can play to help the U.S. meet both the healthcare and fiscal challenges it faces.

I was struck by two things in the remarks. The first was the announcement that America's biopharmaceutical research companies have invested more than $500 billion in new medical R&D since 2000.

That half trillion dollars - and the next half trillion to come - are a critical investment in finding the medical solutions we need to help patients confronting Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease as well as rare and other chronic diseases.

But as impressive as this level of investment is - a level that helps makes the biopharmaceutical industry the leading innovative industry in America - Mr. Castellani's conclusion helped to put why this industry is important into proper context.

He said:

"As I stand before you today, it is inevitable that all of us in this room will one day confront disease. Some may face Alzheimer's disease. Others face diabetes, heart disease, cancers and other conditions. We will all want access to the latest, best medicines available.

Somewhere in America right now, there is a scientist hard at work, pushing the frontiers of research in pursuit of the next treatment that will take us from hope to cures. The leaders of the biopharmaceutical industry and the leaders of government must help that scientist. Together we must foster the next $500 billion in research. Together we must support the environment needed to sustain medical innovation. Together, we must do everything we can to ensure that scientist succeeds."

That's the bottom line. When that time comes for us that we are a patient, we all will want access to the best medicines and healthcare available. To make sure that innovative medicine pipeline continues to produce needed medical breakthroughs, we all must do a better job of taking a long-term view and working for policies that: support a modern regulatory system; foster a thriving scientific infrastructure; create a business environment that embraces innovation; and that better values medicines and their contribution to controlling healthcare costs and improving health.

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