Posts Tagged ‘PhRMA’

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Medical Prisoners of War on Memorial Day

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

This Memorial Day, take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of the health challenges facing our armed forces. We are losing more troops to suicide than to combat. More than half of our veterans are being treated for depression. Nearly 1 in 3 of our servicemen and servicewomen suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Hundreds of thousands of veterans are affected by a traumatic brain injury. These numbers demonstrate the urgent need for research. I am participating this week in the One Mind for Research annual meeting, where this morning, former congressman and Research!America Board member Patrick Kennedy described our wounded warriors as “medical prisoners of war” whom we have a moral obligation to assist. Here at the conference we’ve heard from leading scientists whose work will help combat neurological and mental health threats — for our military and for everyone else who suffers brain disease and disorders. The problems are palpable, and the commitment across the research ecosystem is evident. Yet, knowing what I do about the threat of sequestration and the other elements of the year-end fiscal cliff, I can’t help but ask myself: “Will there be funding available to sustain young scientists working in this field? Is this country going to make research and innovation a priority again?”

One optimistic note is that user fee legislation, which will provide critical funding for FDA drug and medical device review, has just passed the Senate and looks to be on a path to deliver this bill to the president in time to avert layoffs and delays in drug and device approvals at FDA. This legislation demonstrates that even with a challenged economy, ongoing budget debates and a hotly contested election, Congress can still come together on a bipartisan basis to improve health and protect our economy.

Assuring a stronger FDA is one of the key solutions put forward in a new report from the Milken Institute, Accelerating Innovation in the Bioscience Revolution.  Michael Milken spoke yesterday at One Mind and really fired up the crowd, just as he did last September at the conference many of us attended to draft the solutions in the report. On the heels of a Washington Post editorial on speeding up drug review, George Vradenburg of USAgainstAlzheimer’s submitted a letter that was published Monday. Remember to be on the lookout for opportunities like this to contribute a letter to the editor — it’s an easy way to step up and speak out.

The biopharmaceutical industry is important for our health and our economy and more at risk than ever before. According to a new report released by Battelle Technology Partnership Practice and PhRMA, other countries are making substantial investments in pro-innovation policies. If we want to keep the 4 million domestic jobs supported by the biopharmaceutical industry and maintain our global leadership, we need to rethink and improve our nation’s innovation policies. Other countries are ramping up their investments in R&D and doubling down on incentives to foster research. In essence, those countries are borrowing a page from our playbook. While it will be good for all for many more countries to field a strong R&D team, we don’t want to be watching from the sidelines — time to get back in the game!

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

Again, the Siren Sounds: Global Competitors are Gaining on the U.S.

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Two important reports were released this week, and both have the same ominous message: The U.S. is in danger of losing its stature as a world leader in innovation and technology.

The first, a collaboration between United for Medical Research and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, examines biomedical research, titled “Leadership in Decline: Assessing U.S. International Competitiveness in Biomedical Research.” The money quote from that report: “In an increasing number of indicators … [innovative] policies and investments have enabled several countries’ life sciences industries to become competitive with that of the United States.”

The second, a report prepared for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, is titled “The Biopharmaceutical Research and Development Enterprise: Growth Platform for Economies Around the World.” The money quote from that report: “While the U.S. is still a world leader in biopharmaceutical R&D investment and the introduction of new medicines, as the President, his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and others have stated, a range of factors underpin national competitiveness. In an increasingly global economy, the future of U.S. global biopharmaceutical leadership is not assured.”

If you’ve been paying attention to Research!America’s materials, this should come as no surprise. Heck, the majority of Americans aren’t convinced that the U.S. will remain a global technology leader for much longer. And you don’t need to be on the inside of the life sciences ecosystem to understand why: funding for federal research agencies that peaked nine years ago; the subsequent roller coaster of funding since then (with a looming cliff of sequestration just over the horizon); and little national commitment to fund public-sector R&D or to support private-sector R&D.

Both reports did have some positive things to say about the state of life sciences research in the U.S. The UMR/ITIF report cites America’s strong tradition in funding biomedical research, and the Battelle/PhRMA report credits the ongoing dividends from the Bayh-Dole Act and the availability of venture capital. But the consensus of both reports is that the negatives outweigh the positives; the rest of the world is beating the U.S. at its own game, whether through robust public funding or innovative incentives for the private sector.

So what can you do?

Reach out to your elected representatives, and let them know you’re concerned about the future of American competitiveness. Ensure that candidates for office in your area or state are talking about research and competitiveness and, most importantly, what they plan to do about it.

Our most recent polling, linked above, shows that more than half of Americans don’t believe the U.S. will be a world leader in technology or in health care by the year 2020. That’s eight years away. Waiting another year won’t help; you’ll just be a year older (to paraphrase the skiing filmmaker Warren Miller), and the competitors will be even larger in America’s rearview mirror.

C-PATH to Host “Creating Consensus Science”

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The Critical Path Institute (C-PATH), in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration and the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), will hold a two-day event focusing on the innovative tools that push drug development toward greater efficacy and lesser risk.

“Creating Consensus Science: New Tools and Tactics for Next-Gen Drug Development” will be held November 30 and December 1 at the Crowne Plaza Silver Spring in Silver Spring, MD.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, and Kathy Hudson, PhD, deputy director for science, outreach and policy at the National Institutes of Health, are the keynote speakers.

Other session chairs and panelists include former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT); John Castellani of PhRMA; Brian Corrigan, PhD, of Pfizer; Tim Cote, MD, MPH, of the National Organization for Rare Diseases; Jan Gheuens, MD, PhD, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Clarice “Risa” Hayes, PhD, of Eli Lilly and Co.; Garry Neil, MD, Gary Romano, MD, PhD, and Mahesh Samtani, PhD, of Johnson & Johnson; Ronald Perrone, MD, of Tufts University; Frank Sistare, PhD, of Merck; Myrl Weinberg of the National Health Council; Janet Woodcock, MD, director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research; and Raymond Woosley, MD, PhD, of C-PATH.

Read more about the event or click here to register.

Battelle Report: Contributions of the Biopharmaceutical Sector to the U.S. Economy

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

A new report prepared by Battelle and supported by PhRMA finds that the biopharmaceutical sector significantly strengthens the U.S. economy by producing high-quality jobs and drives innovation by contributing to advances in research and development.

The report found that in 2009, the biopharm sector generated nearly 675,000 direct jobs and supported more than 4 million more in other sectors. This means that every one job in the industry supports nearly six additional jobs in other fields. And these aren’t just any jobs, they’re good jobs: In 2009, a biopharm employee had an average income of $118,690 compared to $64,278 in the overall economy — ranking average income in the biopharm industry the highest among private sector industries.

The sector’s total economic output amounts to more than $917 billion annually. And that output has a significant multiplier effect.

“Every $1 dollar in output generated by the biopharmaceutical sector generates another $1.4 in output in other sectors of the economy,” the report says.

Significant public and private sector investments are needed to facilitate the discovery and development of new drugs to improve and save lives. The biopharm industry certainly does its part: As a whole, it spent $67.4 billion on R&D in 2010. And, with a combined total of 15,969 patents, the pharmaceutical patent class led the nation in number of patents generated from 2006-2010.

Through the development of modern medicines, the industry has also contributed to increased life expectancy in the U.S. from 69.7 years in 1960 to 77.9 years in 2007.

“Biopharmaceutical research companies produce the highest-value jobs, the types of jobs we want in the 21st century economy, the kinds of jobs that can drive future economic growth. No other sector has the ability to drive innovation, create high-quality jobs and provide new life-saving medicines for patients,” PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani said in a statement.

Battelle and PhRMA are Research!America members.

Research Advocacy in the News

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

With federal funding much in the news as Congress debates spending priorities and deficit reduction, Research!America and our members and partners have also been in the news, speaking out about the economic impact of research and its importance to our nation’s health and competitiveness.

Research!America initiated the concept and worked with Richard Bridges, PhD, College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, University of Montana, on an op-ed published today in the Helena Independent Record, yesterday in The Billings Gazette and last Thursday in the Missoulian, both located in the district of Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-At-Large-Montana), chair of the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees HHS agencies. The full op-ed (“Invest in Montana research, continue to reap long-term benefits”) is available online at the links above. Among the points made in the op-ed:

While many Montanans benefit from and appreciate research discoveries, they may not be aware that these discoveries are made right in their own state. As the number and competitiveness of scientists in our universities, hospitals and research institutes have grown dramatically in the past several years, so too has our success in attracting NIH grants. Considering that about 60 to 70 percent of this funding typically supports salaries, it translates directly into jobs: skilled technical jobs, sustainable jobs and well-paying jobs. Indeed, a study by the Families USA Foundation revealed that in 2008, the $38 million awarded to Montana by NIH led to the creation of about 700 jobs. Further analysis by Research!America revealed these health research jobs in Montana had an average annual salary around $55,000. Excitingly, this successful trend is continuing, as 2010 saw further increases in both NIH and NSF awards made to Montana.

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Our current times require that not just scientists speak up, but that all of us who see the long-term value of science voice a call to continue making our national investment in research a priority. Research is the key to Montana’s future.

Research!America’s chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter (R-IL), was cited in The Nation and by Bloomberg News for his leadership in doubling the National Institutes of Health budget in 1998, working with then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in the face of strong budget-cutting pressures. Porter also was interviewed by Nature Medicine’s Spoonful of Medicine blog in a Q&A, “How to protect research funding from the chopping block,” that was picked up by Stanford Medicine’s Scope blog.

Research!America’s President and CEO Mary Woolley was quoted in The Washington Post’s Federal Eye blog on proposed cuts to the National Science Foundation budget and in The Washington Times on the impact of research cuts to U.S. competitiveness. She authored a guest post on PhRMA’s Catalyst blog, noting steps advocates can take now to protect federal funding for medical and health research. For more ways to take action to protect research funding, visit www.researchamerica.org/advocacy or sign-up here for our advocacy alerts.

Research!America’s new Your Congress-Your Health poll data was cited in Nature Medicine’s Spoonful of Medicine blog and by wire services United Press International and Asian News International. See the full poll findings and urge your Member of Congress to respond to the Your Congress-Your Health questionnaire at www.yourcongressyourhealth.org.

John Castellani Blogs About Research!America 2011 National Health Research Forum

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

John Castellani, president and CEO of PhRMA, recently wrote a blog post in The Hill’s Congress Blog reflecting on the panel discussion in which he participated at Research!America’s 2011 National Health Research Forum. Castellani wrote:

Much of the strength of America’s private healthcare sector is based on the collaborative research ecosystem that exists among government agencies, academia and biopharmaceutical research companies. That collaboration should be promoted and expanded through a national policy agenda that supports medical innovation and America’s continued global leadership in the healthcare economy.

The time for a national policy of support is now. The future of U.S. biomedical innovation is at a crossroads. Budgets are stretched thin, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain infrastructures that match the pace and complexity of science, and competition for talent and jobs in a global economy is tight. Now more than ever, the decisions we make, the policies we pursue, the funds we allocate – all must keep the preservation and growth of innovation front and center.

In order to sustain American progress and global leadership in medical innovation, we must continue to nurture it. And it will take a joint commitment by all stakeholders – including the esteemed panelists with whom I spoke during the Research!America forum.

Castellani sat on a panel moderated by Clive Crook of The Atlantic. His co-panelists were Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the FDA; David Page, MD, director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health; former Congressman Mike Castle; and Ellen Sigal, PhD, chair and founder of Friends of Cancer Research.

As reflected in Castellani’s blog post, the panel conversation largely focused on public-private partnerships. This kind of collaboration can facilitate the translation of basic medical and scientific discoveries into products for patients.

PhRMA, Friends of Cancer Research, and the Whitehead Institute are Research!America members.

More Reaction to the President’s State of the Union

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Responses to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night continue to roll in. Given the time he dedicated to innovation and research, there has been much to react to.

Several groups were happy to see Obama’s focus on innovation and research.

“We are especially pleased to hear that [the president] will make investment in biomedical research a priority in his 2012 budget,” William T. Talman, MD, president of FASEB, said in a statement. “This will promote innovation, create new technologies, improve health and revitalize the economy.”

Alan Leshner, PhD, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – and a Research!America board member – offered a three-pronged response to Obama’s address.

1) “We applaud the President’s emphasis on science, engineering and technology research and education as the fuel for innovation and economic growth and prosperity. The scientific community is ready to respond with vigor.”

2) “Although we understand the need to reign in overall spending, we also don’t want to limit the country’s future growth by under-investing in science and technology, which drive innovation and economic progress as well as medical advances.”

3) “We applaud the wisdom in continuing to invest in science and technology, the fuel for the nation’s future economy and quality of life and health.”

Health care – and the battle to repeal health care reform – was also mentioned. Thomas Strauss, president and CEO of Summa Health System, said in a YouTube video that the key to healing our health care system is to change its focus.

“We have a sick care system in this country. So we get paid as hospitals when patients are sick,” Strauss said. “And we need to flip that toward wellness and value and preventative medicine and change that.”

The American Medical Association and its president, Cecil B. Wilson, MD, were happy to hear of Obama’s willingness to work on some of the more controversial aspects of health care reform, like liability reform and lessening the amount of paperwork required by small businesses.

PhRMA President John J. Castellani added, “While innovation and American competitiveness were also central themes in the president’s address, we believe that medical innovation specifically will continue to play a crucial role in advancing patient health and spurring economic growth in the U.S. The president recognized this crucial point tonight, as he stressed the need for investments in biomedical research.”

Eli Lilly & Co.’s LillyPad blog – always a worthwhile read if you’re interested in science policy – shared some interesting links. There’s a report from DC-based Federal News Radio, which talks about the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy increasing role, and how the future may mean even more responsibility. LillyPad also links to a writer, Brian Reid, and his reaction about the timeframe of Obama’s pronouncements; Reid’s own experience with George W. Bush’s State of the Union seven years ago plays into how long it will be until Obama’s words become reality.

(LillyPad’s own reaction is here.)

FASEB, AAAS, Summa Health System, AMA, PhRMA and Eli Lilly and Co. are all Research!America members.

A Roundup of Midterm Elections – and What It Means for Researchers

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Tuesday’s midterm elections saw a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and significant gains in the Senate. Moreover, the GOP also gained in the number of governorships and the number of state houses where it now has majorities.

What, then, does it mean for the research community?

Science Magazine’s ScienceInsider blog anticipates that Congress – both current and new – can pursue one of three tracks for funding for the National Institutes of Health: The current session could approve spending bills that give NIH a $1 billion boost compared to 2010 funding; a continuing resolution that maintains funding levels as they are; or the new Congress acting on Republican pledges to cut spending.

The post also touches on the fate of stem-cell legislation, with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) entering their final weeks as legislators.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a priority for them,” Jennifer Zeitzer told the blog. Zeitzer is the director of legislative affairs for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, a Research!America member. “The outlook for stem cells is even less certain now than it was yesterday.”

ScienceInsider also has a post about Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), who is in line to become the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee. The blog reports that Hall has been generally supportive of the programs that fall under the committee’s jurisdiction, but spoke out against the maneuvering of current chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) to get the America COMPETES Act passed.

Over at The Great Beyond, a blog at Nature, Ivan Semeniuk puts it bluntly.

“For scientists and for US research in general,” Semeniuk writes, “the divided Congress coupled with widespread public concern over government spending suggests a period of flattened budgets or reduced funding lies ahead.”

He also includes a handful of races in which science played a role, from Chris Coons’ victory in the Delaware Senate race over Christine O’Donnell to three ballot questions that also had elements of science.

John J. Castellani, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – PhRMA, also a Research!America member – recorded a video congratulating all the candidates and discussing the work that lies ahead.

“One way we can help our economy grow is to ensure that America remains the worldwide hub for scientific and medical research,” Castellani said. He added that congressional leaders are at “a crossroads,” and can decide to keep America ahead.

“We believe the right path,” he said, “is one that strengthens the scientific and economic environments that foster medical advancements and serve as the foundations for great jobs and U.S. global competitiveness.”

Billy Tauzin: The Future of Medical Innovation

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Research!America board member and PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin writes on PhRMA.org about the importance of pharmaceutical research companies to medical innovation. He refers to medical research as an investment in ongoing innovation and medical progress.

In other words, the ongoing search for new medicines requires a profound dedication to both the hope of helping patients and the extraordinary hard work of the the researchers involved in drug development and approval process. Both the individuals and companies that take this challenge on do so with few illusions. I’ve been privileged to speak with many pharmaceutical research scientists who have spent their entire professional careers researching and developing new medicines. They frequently tell me that there were times when they would ask themselves whether it is worth the time, money and effort – especially if they spent years working on an idea that went nowhere. Many also say that their work more likely than not led to small incremental advances in the treatment of a disease as opposed to working on some medical-science or technology changing discovery.