Cooperation For Patient Health

Cooperation For Patient Health

06.04.13 | By

At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg told attendees, “What motivates us every day is getting safe and effective innovative medical products to patients that need them.”

We couldn’t agree more. Throughout the meeting, we’ve been excited to hear a number of scientists and researchers discuss the amazing progress being made across health care and the biosciences. The prospect of making significant strides in the war on cancer has never been brighter. This begins with new ideas and approaches, and would not be possible without the close collaboration of leaders across the health care ecosystem.

We learned that extending a specific hormone therapy for breast cancer from five to 10 years significantly reduces the risk of recurrence and breast cancer mortality. Findings like this one represent the tip of the iceberg of what is being done by researchers and innovators across the industry to help patients. In 2011, PhRMA member companies had more than 980 medicines and vaccines in clinical testing and invested approximately $50 billion in developing innovative new medicines to prevent, treat and cure debilitating diseases like cancer.

The federal government is doing its part, too. Dr. Hamburg spoke about how the FDA Safety and Innovation Act passed last July, as well as inclusion of the Breakthrough Therapy designation, is helping to facilitate this progress. When preliminary clinical data suggests that a new drug holds real promise of substantial improvements over available therapies to treat a serious condition, the treatment can be expedited with this designation. According to Dr. Hamburg, the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has received 51 requests for Breakthrough Therapy designation. Of those, roughly 20 have been granted the designation, eight of which are for oncology drugs.

Leaders across health care share the same goal: developing and delivering the best treatments and care to patients. It is at meetings like ASCO that we really see how all the parts fit together to help achieve this common purpose, and we’re looking forward to hearing more about this progress next year and for many years to come. Every step forward is a milestone in the war on cancer, which provides much-needed hope to millions of patients and their families.



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