Demonstrating the value of medical research is critical to increasing support among policymakers and the public for the research ecosystem. Leaders representing various sectors of the research community discussed efforts to advance policies in support of medical innovation at Research!America’s 2015 National Health Forum Thursday, September 10 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. “If we want America to remain the epicenter of medical innovation, we need to learn from past lessons and engage in passionate advocacy…to create a groundswell around medical research,” said Jeffrey Bloss, M.D., senior vice president of scientific and medical affairs, Astellas Pharmaceuticals U.S., lead sponsor of the event.
Sudip S. Parikh, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of health & analytics, Battelle, described the need for “breaking down the silos” to enable researchers to work together toward a common goal. Ron Mobed, chief executive officer, Elsevier said government officials worldwide are demanding more accountability for public investments in research. “If you can't convince taxpayers of the value, then you don't get the funding to follow your nose,” he added.
Stephen M. Ostroff, M.D., acting commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), noted the importance of the FDA keeping pace with innovation and ensuring “that we have the skill-sets that we need to be able to properly evaluate what comes before the agency. That is not an easy task.” The use of real-world data in FDA decision-making was applauded by Amy Comstock Rick, J.D., president and chief executive officer, Food and Drug Law Institute, who also stressed the need to review “how drugs are actually used by people and how they are prescribed by clinicians.”
Other panelists discussed the prevalence of chronic conditions, telemedicine, vaccines and challenges with educating the public about health services research. Richard Kronick, Ph.D., director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, acknowledged his agency must do a better job communicating the value of AHRQ’s work to improve quality of care. There are “50,000 fewer death in hospitals and 1.3 million fewer bad things happening” as a result of AHRQ’s efforts. “I and my colleagues need to tell the story better and that story needs to be amplified more effectively,” Kronick said. Anne Schuchat, M.D., principal deputy director, Centers for Disease Control, described the interconnectedness of global health. “For the CDC to keep Americans safe and healthy requires strong health protection in every country. Because the weakest link in the global chain can mean problems at home, as well as devastating problems abroad,” she emphasized.
Other panelists included Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO, The ALS Association; Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., FACP, managing director, Tuckson Health Connections, LLC; and Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., RPH, executive vice president and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH); William Hait, M.D., Ph.D., global head, Janssen Research & Development; Anil Jina, M.D., senior vice president and head of global medical affairs at Shire; and Vincent A. Forlenza, chairman, chief executive officer and president, BD; Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, Washington University in St. Louis; and Marc Boutin, J.D., chief executive officer, National Health Council.
The moderators were Richard Harris, science correspondent, NPR; Seema Yasmin, M.D., medical correspondent, CNN and staff writer, The Dallas Morning News; and Frank Sesno, director of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.
For more information on the event, photos and videos, visit researchamerica.org/forum.