The Catalyst

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03.15.11 | By Kate Connors

Yesterday, I had a visit from a high school friend who is in town as part of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology "Hill Day," when the ASBMB brings young academic researchers to Washington to discuss the importance of federal support for scientific research.

Eric is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, where he spends his days trying to cure cancer, he says humbly.


Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on drug prices. A key finding in the report shows prices are increasing at a rate lower than medical inflation. According to GAO, when accounting for "the growing national shift in consumer utilization from brand-name to generic versions of drugs," prices for the top 100 medicines increased 2.6 percent annually between 2006 and 2010. Over this period, medical inflation increased 3.8 percent.

03.15.11 | By Kate Connors

Today PhRMA is releasing our annual R&D numbers, in which we track how much America's biopharmaceutical research companies invested in 2010 on the discovery and development of tomorrow's potential new medicines.


The Hill reports that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recommitted himself to helping stop the flow of counterfeit medicines into the U.S. Here's some of what Leahy had to say:


The 60 Minutes story on the growing danger of counterfeit prescription medicines that ran over the weekend has sparked interest in the problem.


There was a recent article on MarketWatch that caught my eye because it really broke down the issue of counterfeiting and the dangers that rogue online pharmacy sites pose to patient health and safety. One quote in the article was particularly shocking - "Fake drugs are behind an estimated 700,000 deaths from malaria and tuberculosis," according to a report from the International Policy Network.


In a 60 Minutes segment airing tonight, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg admits that there are rare instances of counterfeit medicines seeping into the closed U.S drug supply but in other countries around the world, patients aren't as lucky nor are they safe from the global counterfeit drug threat.


Kate noted yesterday that we live in a global community. Watching the terrible toll of the earthquake in Japan today really brings that home. Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers - like everyone's at PhRMA -- go out to the victims.

03.11.11 | By Kate Connors

Yesterday on CNN, anchor Ali Velshi @alivelshi referred to the medical innovations that save American lives every day.

That was still ringing in my ears when I came across an article about a new study conducted by the CDC and the National Cancer Institute finding that there were 11.7 million cancer survivors alive in the U.S. in 2007. That's almost 12 million people who battled cancer and won!


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it will make $100 million available to states so that they can offer incentives to Medicaid enrollees who adopt healthy lifestyles such as qu

03.10.11 | By Kate Connors

Yesterday PhRMA was honored to be recognized by The Rotary Foundation for our support of their work on polio eradication and health check-up and screening camps.


Lupus is a chronic, painful autoimmune deficiency afflicting somewhere around 1.5 million Americans. For the first time in 50 years, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment for the disease.

03.09.11 | By John Castellani

Visitors who walk among the mighty redwoods in California are dwarfed by the towering giants, anchors of thriving ecosystems. Imagine turning back the clock to glimpse those forests when the massive trees were mere saplings.


A story in Medical News Today points out where the greatest incidences of diabetes are in the U.S. It paints a telling demographic picture of diabetes and how it is increasingly a major health issue. But it also keeps us coming back to a topic we talk about frequently - the cost of chronic conditions like diabetes to both patients and the economy.

03.09.11 | By Kate Connors

Last night, after weeks of debate and years of work and dialogue, the Senate passed Senator Patrick Leahy's patent reform bill.

Of course, the work still isn't done. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, the House will act on a bill that mirrors Senator Leahy's in its commitment to modernizing the patent system while maintaining the rights of patent owners.


Check out the Huffington Post blog by PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani and, Gregg LaPointe, CEO of Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Duff Wilson over at the New York Times has an interesting and, as he says, sobering look at some of the challenges facing America's biopharmaceutical research sector in the years ahead.


The oped by John Castellani, PhRMA's President and CEO, and Chris Molineaux, President of Pennsylvania BIO, in the March 4 Patriot News in Pennsylvania is worth a look. Some key passages:


Derek Gregg, chairman of the Bioscience Association of West Virginia and CEO of Vandalia Research, had a great oped in the Charleston (VA) Gazette. Mr. Gregg is excited by the opportunities that the biosciences and biopharmaceutical research are starting to provide for the people of West Virginia. He clearly understands the potential to both help save lives and create good jobs in West Virginia:

03.04.11 | By Kate Connors

A column in The Boston Globe today tells the exciting story about a local company that is reporting some very positive results from its development program for a medicine to treat cystic fibrosis (CF), a rare disease that affects about 30,000 Americans. Unlike current therapies for CF, which treat the symptoms of the ailment, this drug is being developed to potentially attack the disease itself.