Here at PhRMA, I'm known as a bit of a road warrior. There's nothing I enjoy more than leaving Washington, D.C. in the rear view mirror to travel around the country on behalf of the biopharmaceutical research industry to meet with reporters, legislators, local business leaders and, sometimes, even university research officials.
We've got a story to tell and as a hairy cell leukemia survivor saved by a chemotherapy and some powerful antibiotics, I'm happy to tell it.
I'm just coming off a streak of two trips to West Virginia that spanned six days of meetings and nearly 1,500 miles of driving on windy Mountain State roads in the rain followed by several days in Georgia.
And I'm not about to complain. Hey, all of that travel and driving got me out of the office, I got caught up on listening to my Widespread Panic, Allman Brothers Band and Gov't. Mule CDs -- Warren Haynes, you rock - and most importantly, I had the opportunity to talk to a diverse range of folks about the biopharmaceutical industry and its innovation.
Lately, on the road, we've been talking a lot about the fact that biopharmaceutical research companies are conducting clinical trials of new medicines, including cutting-edge, new-generation biotechnology treatments, in all of the states. The companies generally hire local research institutions, including university medical schools and hospitals, to conduct the trials.
That means chronic disease sufferers still searching for treatments that are best for them can be just a few miles from trials that might benefit them. And these clinical tests are a steady source of revenue and new business for a state's biopharmaceutical research facilities. In other words, clinical tests are good news for many patients and the economy.
So far, we've talked about value to patients and economic impact of clinical trials at "Research In Your Backyard" events in Huntington and Morgantown, West Virginia, and suburban Atlanta. Next up is a rollout in Oregon. At each event, in my remarks, I was able to cite impressive numbers. In Georgia alone, more than 3,600 clinical tests of new medicines are either underway or were recently conducted all over the state. And even in West Virginia, which is smaller and has much less research infrastructure, nearly 500 trials have been conducted or are underway.
The numbers were impressive enough to draw the attention of local media. In West Virginia, six newspaper stories about clinical trials and innovation by local companies and research institutions were written and in Georgia, five articles were published
Now, I look forward to 2012. I'm ready to travel thousands of miles across the country to continue telling this important story. I just hope everyone in my family knows all of the Southern rock and roll, blues and progressive jazz bands that I like so they can buy me the right CDs for Christmas to keep me jamming on the road.
Maybe I'll be meeting some of you along the way next year. I hope so.