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The Value of Lifesaving Medicines: How Best To Define and Communicate The Innovations In Biopharmaceuticals

June 7, 2016
One of BIO’s central goals is to promote the value of innovation in lifesaving medicines and what that means for the public at-large.

At Day 1 of the BIO International Convention in San Francisco, attendees gathered to hear more about how best to communicate this vital mission.

“Defining and Communication Medical Innovation Value for the Long Term” was moderated by Al Jackson, of Spectrum Science Communications and featured panelists Lambert van der Walde of UnitedHealth Group, Brian Gill of Celgene, and Josh Ofman of Amgen.

“The value conversation is an important one to have,” said Ofman. “And we’re beginning to have it in the United States in a meaningful way.”

Ofman admitted that the industry needs to do a much better job of educating the public on drug prices.

Many critics bring up the cost of drugs that cure Hepatitis C, but Ofman invoked an historical parallel, comparing it to when HIV drugs first hit the market in the 1980s.

As Ofman noted, there was criticism of price initially. However, drug development was allowed to progress; price controls weren’t put into place and the drugs to treat the disease ended up getting better.

Today, they note, HIV is a chronic disease with over a trillion dollars in societal value and a reduction in the death rate by 83 percent.

Gill agreed and said the best way to reduce healthcare spending is to simply the “cure the disease” and cited Hepatitis C as an example.

There is no doubt that defining and communicating will be a central question of our industry in the future.

We are on the cusp of a new generation of lifesaving medicines. We must work to ensure that their benefits are known to all.