Innovative medicines developed by America’s biopharmaceutical research companies have helped increase childhood cancer survival rates from 58 percent in 1970 to 83 percent today, and have contributed to declining death rates for patients battling diseases such as HIV/AIDS (85 percent decline since 1995), heart disease (30 percent decline between 2001 and 2011) and cancer (20 percent decline between 1999 and 2006). In order to further improve treatments and medicines for patients in New York, it is important that we encourage more clinical trials and the development of new medicines, as well as strengthen STEM programs throughout the state.
Recently, there has been an ongoing discussion about spending on prescription medicines. These discussions often fail to acknowledge that retail prescription medicines have consistently accounted for just 10% of health care spending in the country, despite having brought more than 500 new medicines to patients in the past 15 years. In fact, government actuaries project this share of spending to remain stable through the next decade.
High generic utilization rates, competition among brand-name medicines and aggressive tactics by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate lower prices all help to keep the costs of medicines under control. These tactics are responsible for the growing progress against diseases, such as hepatitis C, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Since its peak in 1991, new cancer medicines have helped cut the cancer death rate by 22% and the latest hepatitis C treatments have a cure rate of more than 90% against a disease that kills more patients than HIV/AIDS. In the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, a new innovative medicine that delays the onset of the disease by five years would reduce the number of Americans with this condition by nearly half and reduce the cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients by $447 billion a year by 2050.
We can’t afford to have a health care system that doesn’t support innovation and encourage the development of new treatments for costly medical conditions. The video below gives insight into the essential truths about spending on medicines. Watch to learn more!
Developing a new medicine begins with understanding the disease or condition as thoroughly as possible. Basic research provides clues about how to treat diseases and potential ways to target the symptoms or underlying causes but clinical trials are an essential part of the development of innovative medicines. The multi-phase clinical trials process is crucial for determining how safe and effective a medicine is, and clinical trials would not be possible without the people who volunteer to participate.
Each patient battling with a disease or managing a condition lives in the hope that tomorrow will bring a new medicine that delivers better health. America’s biopharmaceutical research companies share the same goal of developing new medicines that can prevent diseases, improve patients’ health, and save lives. Beyond each individual patient, new drugs can help society overall by reducing sick days and helping cut the cost of healthcare. Fostering the development of new medicines in New York will generate a healthy population and economy.
Strengthening America’s standing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is critical to continued scientific and technological innovation. New York State needs to encourage STEM programs throughout the state because it fosters sustained economic growth and helps patients live longer, healthier, more productive lives.