Washington, D.C. (January 25, 2010) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senior Assistant General Counsel Marjorie Powell issued the following statement today regarding the benefits of Minnesota-based innovation to patients and public health:
“From PhRMA’s perspective, disease is our common enemy.
“America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies lead the world in discovering and developing innovative medical therapies that have revolutionized health care, helping patients to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
“PhRMA, a trade association, represents thousands of scientists who work tirelessly to discover the next medical advance to treat – and cure – chronic diseases and to improve the lives of patients.
“It’s vitally important that Minnesota state legislators concentrate their efforts on improving patients’ access to care, and to improving the quality of that care. None of the bills to be discussed during this afternoon’s hearing addresses any of those critical issues.
“What’s more, the proposed legislation could make it more difficult for pharmaceutical companies to identify physicians treating patients who might benefit from receiving information about an innovative medicine or new information about an existing treatment.
“One proposed bill mischaracterizes the beneficial relationships between our companies and healthcare practitioners and could discourage physicians from providing their expertise to pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. Worse, the proposal could limit those physicians’ participation in clinical trials, making it much more difficult to complete painstaking research that transforms promising ideas into life-saving therapies.
“The final proposal could expand academic detailing programs that, elsewhere, exist solely to boost the number of generic drugs that physicians prescribe. That single-minded focus raises the question of the merit of such a program in Minnesota, where generic dispensing rates already approach 80 percent. Counter-detailing is not subject to rigorous federal oversight, which requires that the information shared with physicians be accurate, fair, balanced and reflect the federally approved medicine label.
“Taken as a whole, the package of legislative proposals could have a chilling effect on Minnesota’s life sciences at a time when state leaders aim to expand this vital sector.
Today, Minnesota’s biopharmaceutical sector supports more than 49,000 employees and pumped $8.2 billion into the state’s economy in 2006. In 2008, more than 2,200 clinical trials were conducted right here in Minnesota, providing state residents with earlier access to promising experimental therapies.
“As it is, developing a new therapy already is risky, expensive and time-consuming. Creating a new medicine, on average, can take 10 years to 15 years and can cost $1.3 billion. Importantly, those financial investments benefit healthcare providers, patients and public health.
“Cancer patients are living, on average, three years longer – and 83 percent of those survival rate gains are due to new treatments, including medicines. Heart failure and heart attack deaths fell by nearly half from 1999 to 2005. Since the advent of highly active anti-retroviral therapy in 1995, the annual number of U.S. deaths due to AIDS has plummeted by more than 70 percent. And blood pressure medicines prevented 86,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease and avoided 833,000 hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke, according to a 2007 study in Health Affairs.
“These and untold other medical advances were driven by U.S.-based medical innovation. According to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, a staggering 75 percent of all new drugs approved worldwide from 2005 to 2007 were first introduced in the U.S.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on stories of hope and survival, visit: http://sharingmiracles.com/
PhRMA en Español: www.nuestraphrma.org
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org
For more information on public health emergencies, visit: www.rxresponse.org