Center for Medicine in the Public Interest's mission: Sustainable innovation

Peter Pitts

Healthcare innovation saves lives, saves money, promotes economic growth, and provides hope for hundreds of millions of people (both patients and care-givers) in the United States and around the world. But innovation isn’t easy.

There are many roadblocks beyond those of discovery and development. The complicated and conflicting dynamics of politics, perspectives on healthcare economics, of friction between payers, providers, manufacturers, and regulators, the battle for better patient education, and the need for a more forceful and factual debate over the value of innovation all create the need for a more balanced and robust debate.

The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) is dedicated to addressing these problems head-on and providing practical opportunities to overcome them. Specifically:

•      The importance of understanding and rewarding incremental innovation.

•      The price/value debate. Rather than focusing on the short-term costs of healthcare, what are the long-term benefits to both patients and society? We will examine this issue through the lens of the Solvadi debate.

•      Value-based insurance design. How a more personalized approach to reimbursement matches up well with advances in personalized medicine.

•      The dynamic and distressing link between co-pays and outcomes and how this relationship must be understood and recalibrated.

•      The urgent need for transparency in insurance choices within the Affordable Care Act in order to provide the right medicine to the right patient at the right time in a transparent and affordable manner.

•       How to reach best clinical practice more swiftly through electronic pre-authorization and the increasing empowerment of physicians.

•      Addressing the problem of medication compliance through innovative approaches such as apps and more user-friendly patient education.

•      How “the story of innovation” can be more clearly and powerfully communicated to various constituencies so that we can narrow the “misperception gap.”

•      Rather than playing the “blame game,” how we can advance healthcare innovation by working together to advance the public good. 

Shortly before his death, I had the privilege of a private meeting with Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg. We talked about the state of applied science, the prioritization of development science, biomarkers, and a host of other future-oriented issues. At the end of the meeting he put everything into perspective in a single sentence. He leaned over the table and said, “The real question should be, is innovation feasible?” Let’s hope so. Innovation equals hope.

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Peter Pitts is president and co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.


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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor