The Catalyst

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I've documented my astronomy nerd-dom before, so reading the CERN coverage of new imaging tools available to cancer doctors that can help scan and detect diseases earlier gave me a special thrill.


PhRMA's 2012 annual meeting will take place in Boston, a city that many leading biopharmaceutical research companies call home. In many ways, the Greater Boston area is an important hub of biopharmaceutical innovation and considered the center of many collaborative partnerships between industry and academic institutions.

We couldn't have picked a better place to gather and discuss all of the opportunities and challenges the industry faces as the health care and innovation landscape continues to evolve.


The next few weeks will be a swirl of airports and far-flung hotels, as I make my way to Norwalk, CT and Orlando, FL for two conferences on prescription drug abuse.

03.26.12 | By Greg Lopes

We all know governments are looking to save money these days. There are right ways to do it, and there are risky, misguided ways to do it.


There's been some chatter in the blogosphere lately around our sector's commitment to transparency in clinical trials, with an unfortunate lack of clarity and context. To set the record straight, here's a quick historical overview of our considerable and consistent efforts in this important area.

03.22.12 | By Greg Lopes

Unless you have a keen interest in health policy - or you've had a personal experience in recent years - you probably haven't spent much time thinking about specialty tiers in health plan formularies. While not exactly dinner conversation in most circles, it's important for people to realize how a specialty tier can put patients' health at risk. Why? It restricts access to needed treatments.


There's some huge news in brain research today: Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen just pledged $300 million to the Allen Institute to promote open-science research on brain circuitry. That donation will help to double the Allen Institute's staff and fund the first four years of a ten-year project, whose plans for "brain observatories" read like something out of a science fiction movie.

03.22.12 | By Preet Bilinski

For me certain things seem to happen every day.

03.20.12 | By Kate Connors

This morning, I lost someone dear to me to cancer.

He isn't the first person I've lost, nor will he be the last, I'm afraid.

In healthcare, there's a pretty common phrase: "a cure for cancer." But when you watch someone you love go through it, you understand that there's no such thing. There are thousands of cancers and each one attacks the body differently. Because of this, there can be no common cure.

03.20.12 | By Kate Connors

Recently, I spent a few moments watching an interview with author and consultant Simon Sinek, in which he defines innovation and "the application of technology to solve human problems."

03.19.12 | By Greg Lopes

The latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) spending estimates show, once again, that the Medicare prescription drug benefit's competitive, market-based structure is leading to much lower than expected overall program costs - while continuing to deliver medicines to seniors at affordable costs.

Seniors love it and it lowers costs: check out this infographic on Part D's success.


A recent article in Newsweek brought to light to an interesting project, spearheaded by a Long Island Alzheimer's researcher Peter Davies, to sequence the entire genome of about 1,000 Alzheimer's patients over the next three to four years.


Dr. Patricia Robinson, an African American oncologist in Chicago, certainly captured the attention of reporters at a recent roundtable on clinical trials of new medicines attended by journalists from Chicago-area Latino American, African American and Asian American community newspapers.


More than half of Americans doubt this country's ability to keep global research and development leadership. That was the focus of the Research!America forum I attended yesterday with PhRMA President & CEO John Castellani.

03.14.12 | By Kate Connors

Along with this year's must-pass reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, it is also time to reauthorize the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) and Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA), which are intended to increase research conducted about use of medicines in children. We hope that Congress will permanently reauthorize this legislation, which will provide the certainty needed to encourage companies to embark on years-long pediatric studies.