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Pennsylvania Roundtable Answers the Call for Cures

September 3, 2014
Congressman Joe Pitts (PA-16) recently hosted a roundtable in Lancaster to discuss how to expedite cures and treatments with leading national, regional and local health care innovators from the government, private, and public sectors, including BIO’s Jim Greenwood, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

[caption id="attachment_16871" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Collins and Greenwood Collins and Greenwood continue the discussion after the event.[/caption]

The roundtable is one of many being held across the country as part of the 21st Century Cures Initiative. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee launched the initiative to engage in a national public health discussion devoted to identifying ideas for delivering the next generation of cures and treatments.

BIO suggests establishing and defending policies that promote the effective transfer of new technology, empowering regulatory agencies to keep pace with science, encouraging the development and adoption of modern approaches to drug development, protecting intellectual property, encouraging a globally competitive tax system, and continuing investment in scientific research.

[caption id="attachment_16874" align="aligncenter" width="400"]jim and collins Dr. Collins, the Honorable Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and Vice President and Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Covance, Inc., Dr. William Hanlon.[/caption]

The ultimate goal of the biotech industry is to bring safe, effective, innovative medicines to market for patients.  In fact, scientists and entrepreneurs in the United States have developed more cures and breakthrough medicines than those in any other country, but what keeps me up at night are some disturbing trends that mayprevent us from maintaining this leadership into the future.

FDA’s drug evaluation process should be appropriately guided by patient perspectives on unmet medical need, the adequacy of existing therapies, anticipated benefits from new treatment options, and tolerance for potential risks.  Also, patients must have access to innovative cures and treatments or our efforts will be meaningless; Americans expect the insurance they pay for will offer robust coverage and access of new and improved treatments.

While there is much to be proud of, there is still much to be done. The 21st Century Cures Initiative is a call to action, and the biopharmaceutical industry will answer by continuing our commitment to expedite the delivery of cures and treatments to those in need.