PhRMA’s Contributions to The Fight Against Chronic Diseases

Research to Fight Chronic Diseases

04.11.13 | By Jeff Trewhitt

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health care expenditures in the United States approached $2.6 trillion in 2010, over ten times the $256 billion spent in 1980. 

The expectation this year: Americans will spend $2.9 trillion on health care.  And federal, state and local government agencies are in overdrive to find the best ways to reduce costs and still maintain quality patient care.  

That commitment is shared by (PhRMA) and its member companies.  And we think we’ve hit upon the best approach by advocating for improved awareness, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases – all at a time when they account for more than 75 percent of total health care spending in America.

PhRMA is heavily involved in the fight against chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke through support for a variety of programs and initiatives:

  • The biopharmaceutical industry is an active supporter of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a national coalition of hundreds of patient, health care provider, community, business and labor organizations that advocates for policies and programs to prevent and manage chronic disease. States and municipalities can work with the PFCD (www.fightchronicdisease.org) to identify and resolve costly medical program weaknesses.
  • The PFCD is starting to work with PhRMA and officials in key states to identify opportunities for improvements in Medicaid and other state employee health care programs.  There are ongoing efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and North Carolina and additional outreach is planned for Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Texas.
  • We are also supporting the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices as it explores effective ways to lower Medicaid costs while providing sound patient care. 
  • Additionally, it is essential that patients take their medications as prescribed and PhRMA has drafted legislative language for state lawmakers to consider to help improve patient adherence to their prescriptions.
  • April is the eighth anniversary of the PhRMA-sponsored Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a nationwide effort to help uninsured and financially struggling patients obtain and take their medicines as prescribed.  The PPA is a single point of access to more than 475 programs that provide free or nearly free treatments and cover over 2,500 brand-name and generic drugs.  So far, nearly eight million patients have been matched to programs that could help them and there is room to help more financially struggling disease sufferers all across the country.

Over the next several weeks, I will continue to write about biopharmaceutical company efforts  in the war against chronic diseases.  It is vitally important that the industry do what it can to help improve prevention and treatment of chronic conditions – the World Health Organization says nearly a third of cancer deaths and their costs could be prevented by reducing risks such as lack of exercise, unhealthy diet and smoking.

And convincing chronic disease sufferers to adhere to their prescriptions would help save up to $300 billion a year in the United States alone.  

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