Will Life Sciences Be Gone Tomorrow?

Post discusses the lack of attention to life sciences in America's policy arena.

PhRMA StaffFebruary 15, 2011

On Friday, Health Affairs Blog featured a post by health policy attorney Paul Kim that brought to light the overwhelming lack of attention on the life sciences when discussing innovation in America's policy arena.

Acknowledging President Obama's call for innovation during the State of the Union address, Mr. Kim argues that the speech unfortunately "perpetuates the omission of the life sciences," including biopharmaceuticals, from the technology and innovation dialogue.

He also notes that this oversight could represent a threat to America's leadership in medical innovation: "Neglect could be benign, but for the evident and mounting challenges that threaten the sustainability of our competitiveness in the life sciences."

Last year, the Council for American Medical Innovation released a report with similar findings. Their report, called "Gone Tomorrow," found that American leadership in medical innovation and resulting biomedical development is "ours to lose."

Perhaps CAMI's conclusion is one that would address Mr. Kim's concerns: the U.S. needs a national medical innovation agenda that would help to protect, and grow, a sector that already is a workhorse in America's economy.

A report released by Battelle last year showed what successful state policy efforts have been undertaken to foster a strong biopharmaceutical industry, much to the benefit of many states. Unfortunately, without support from federal policies and programs, individual states now see their starkest competition coming from foreign countries, backed by the support of their federal governments. In fact, according to a recent public opinion survey conducted by AstraZeneca, there is an expectation that by 2020, China will replace the U.S. and Japan as the most innovative country in the world.

It's clear that to maintain our leadership, we need a medical innovation agenda that ensures a policy and regulatory environment that adequately rewards the innovation that is done across the country by biopharmaceutical research companies.

Such an agenda would present a unified front to the world, helping us to maintain our global leadership in years to come.

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