Press Release

200+ New Medicines to Treat Heart Disease & Stroke

PhRMA June 12, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2013) – America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 215 medicines for two of the leading causes of death of Americans – heart disease and stroke, according to a new report and overview released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Every 39 seconds an American dies from cardiovascular disease, and more than 83 million Americans have at least one type of the disease, the American Heart Association (AHA) reports.

However, death rates from heart disease and stroke are falling, thanks in large part to new medicines.  Advances in medicine have helped cut deaths from heart disease by one third between 2001 and 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Factors contributing to the ongoing decline are better control of risk factors, early detection, and better treatment and care, including new medicines and expanded use of existing treatments, the CDC said.

“Safe and effective medicines that control blood pressure and lower cholesterol have helped to significantly reduce deaths from heart disease,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. “The cardiovascular therapies in the pipeline reflect the commitment of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies to build on the progress made to date and help patients lead longer and healthier lives.”

The 215 medicines in the pipeline represent new scientific approaches to treating and preventing heart disease and stroke.  These medicines – all in human clinical trials or under review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – include:

  • 30 for heart failure, which impacts approximately 5.1 million Americans.
  • 29 for lipid disorders, such as high cholesterol, which affect nearly 100 million adults in the U.S.
  • 19 for stroke, which affects more than 22,000 people each year in the United States.
  • 17 for hypertension, which impacts approximately 78 million Americans.

Many of these potential medicines use cutting-edge technologies and new scientific methods, such as a gene therapy that uses a patient’s own cells to treat heart failure; a medicine that blocks the transfer of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL); and a genetically-engineered medicine that dissolves clots to treat stroke.

“These promising new approaches offer great hope to better prevent and treat heart disease,” said Castellani. “They also hold the potential of helping to control costs within our healthcare system, as reflected in a growing body of evidence showing that medicines – including those for heart disease – can help control overall healthcare costs.”

Cardiovascular diseases cost society more than $312 billion a year. The AHA projects that the future annual costs of stroke-related care to increase by 129% to $240.6 billion by 2030. Yet, 80% of strokes are preventable through control of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

Additionally, the cost of congestive heart failure (CHF) could more than double to $70 billion by 2030, with an estimated 46% increase in incidence. This could result in every U.S. taxpayer paying $244 annually for CHF expenses, not just those with CHF, in 2030.

Extensive evidence shows that appropriate use and adherence to medicines play an important role in decreasing spending on medical services. For example, a recent Congressional Budget Office report announced a changed to their scoring methodology that recognized the beneficial impact that use of prescription medicines has on reducing spending on other medical services in Medicare.

The potential for savings is magnified within certain chronic diseases, like CHF. A recent study published in The American Journal of Managed Care found that improved adherence to medication following the expansion of drug coverage under Medicare Part D led to nearly $2.6 billion in savings to medical expenditures annually among beneficiaries with CHF. The study, supported by PhRMA, also found that improving adherence to recommended levels could save Medicare another $1.9 billion annually, leading to $22.4 billion over 10 years.

The Medicines in Development for Heart Disease and Stroke report, as well as the overview and other supplementary materials, are available on PhRMA’s website at

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.

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