Washington, D.C. (March 5, 2009) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO Billy Tauzin today released the following statement following the White House Forum on Health Reform:
“Today was an important step forward in setting the tone for an open and honest debate about the need for comprehensive healthcare reform. PhRMA was pleased to participate in the White House Forum on Health Reform because it provided an important opportunity for all stakeholders to openly discuss effective solutions to build on the strengths of our healthcare system and address its weaknesses.
“Our message today was simple: America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are committed to making sure comprehensive health reform stays on the front burner to help assure that all Americans can access high-quality and affordable healthcare coverage.
“During the discussions, we highlighted the fact that disease prevention can help transform our current sick-care system into a 21st century healthcare system. Our healthcare system must do a better job of stopping disease before it starts. And once it starts, we need to detect diseases earlier and get people into treatment when we can make the biggest difference in avoiding serious and costly complications. Better chronic care management programs in Medicare, Medicaid and the private sector can help us accomplish this goal.
“New prevention and disease management policies are crucial to achieving sustainable affordability within our healthcare system and economic stability in general. According to the Milken Institute, the impact of lost workdays and lower employee productivity due to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease resulted in an estimated economic loss of over $1 trillion in 2003.
“We also strongly support President Obama’s call to stamp out a life-threatening disease that has reached all corners of the earth and affected millions of patients worldwide: cancer. In fact, a record 750 cancer medicines and vaccines are currently being researched and developed by pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, compared to 124 medicines in development for cancer in 1993, the last time Congress considered comprehensive healthcare reform.
“We recognize the fact that all stakeholders are going to have to step up to the plate and make sacrifices to accomplish our shared goals. But in doing so, it is important that policymakers support the continuation of medical advances that are needed to achieve better health outcomes for patients and preserve patient access and choice.
“PhRMA looks forward to more open discussions with the Administration, Congress and other healthcare stakeholders on ways to help get a comprehensive health reform package on the President’s desk this year.”
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 $44.5 billion in 2007 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $58.8 billion in 2007.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.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