Washington, D.C. (March 17, 2009) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO Billy Tauzin today released the following statement regarding the White House health reform summit in Burlington, Vermont today:
“Vermont has been given an historic opportunity to help offer solutions to the healthcare crisis we are now facing in the U.S. Through a series of White House health reform summits taking place in Burlington and other cities across the country over the next two months, a diverse group of stakeholders – including patients, physicians, industry, labor and government – will be openly discussing key elements needed in a comprehensive healthcare reform package. These discussions are critical to help ensure that healthcare reform remains a top national priority this year and does not fall by the wayside.
“Finding common ground to address weaknesses in our healthcare system is our mission, but so too is building on our many great healthcare strengths. For this reason, we should celebrate the fact that America remains the world leader in the innovation of new technologies and medical advances.
“The fact that more than 750 new medicines and vaccines are in development for cancer by America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies is just one reason that our country is at the epicenter of scientific and medical advances that can greatly improve the health of millions of patients suffering from this life-threatening disease, including the more than 23,000 Vermont patients suffering from cancer, according to the Milken Institute. Clearly, important work is already underway to help find a cure for cancer, a top priority for President Obama.
“The engines of innovation – such as America’s biopharmaceutical companies – are deeply vested in improving the health of patients worldwide and contribute significantly to the U.S. economy by helping create millions of jobs. Last year alone, America’s pharmaceutical companies invested a record $65.2 billion researching and developing new medicines and cures. And, more than 3.2 million jobs were supported by the biopharmaceutical sector in 2006. For this reason, it is critical, now more than ever, that lawmakers support policies that promote job stability in all sectors and strengthen innovation of new medical advances.
“While medicines and vaccines offer hope to millions of patients in America suffering from disease, they are meaningless if they remain out of reach to the patients who need them most. For this reason, all Americans should have access to high-quality and affordable healthcare coverage. Copays and other cost-sharing must also be affordable to help ensure that patients can get access to the health care services and prescription medicines they need to better fight their disease.
“We must also transform our sick-care system to a 21st century healthcare system that focuses on disease prevention and management to help keep patients out of the hospital and most importantly, help keep Americans from getting sick in the first place. To that end, we must do more to prevent chronic disease in America. Chronic disease is the number one killer and top health care cost driver in the U.S., with 75 cents of every healthcare dollar going to treat people with these diseases. Nearly 362,000 cases of seven common chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes were reported in Vermont and lost workdays and lower productivity as a result of chronic disease led to economic loss due in Vermont of $2.3 billion in 2003, according to the Milken Institute.
“Clearly, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to help ensure that a meaningful and comprehensive healthcare reform package gets on the President’s desk this year. But if we all continue to work together and have open and honest dialogue to help find common ground, we can certainly make that happen.”
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 how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org