Press Release

PhRMA Statement on Time Magazine Article

PhRMA February 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 21, 2013) – Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Vice President Matthew Bennett issued the following statement:

“Today’s Time Magazine article focuses exclusively on costs, overlooking the tremendous value that innovative medicines deliver to patients and the health care system for only a small fraction of overall health spending. Across the spectrum of diseases, medications have significantly improved quality and length of life.

“A small thought experiment makes the point: consider heart disease before medicines lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, HIV before antivirals, and breast cancer before the advent of new medicines, including therapies targeting specific gene mutations. And looking forward, consider that a new generation of medicines has the capacity to cure most patients with Hepatitis C, and that without new medicines to delay Alzheimer’s – an area being aggressively researched by America’s biopharmaceutical companies – the human and economic cost of that disease will continue its terrible rise.

“R&D investment is key to improving lives and economic growth. The biopharmaceutical sector is one of the most R&D-intensive industries; PhRMA member companies alone have invested over $500 billion in R&D since 2000. The article fails to recognize this massive investment, along with a decade or more of development and the need to obtain government approval before a medicine can even be marketed, which differentiate medicines from other products.

“Controlling health care costs is a priority and medicines are a key part of the solution. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, where expanded access to medicines has resulted in better outcomes and lower costs. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reduced Part D’s projected ten-year costs by $100 billion and reported that Part D is the single biggest factor (approximately 75%) responsible for lower overall Medicare spending projections this year, even though it is only about 1/10th of overall Medicare spending. CBO is now also recognizing, for the first time, savings from the increased use of medicines that reduce the need for other costly medical services.

“Policies intended to improve our health care system should protect, not thwart, the innovation that will lead to the next generation of treatments and cures. The ‘proposals’ in the Time Magazine story to lower medicine-related health costs are misguided, would impede and even reverse the health and economic progress made by medicines and undermine the ability to invest in cutting-edge science that yields better care and economic growth.”

About PhRMA

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 over $500 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 alone.

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