Valen Keefer, double transplant recipient, epilepsy, polycystic kidney disease, and scoliosis, patient recently said, “COVID-19 has given everyone the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a patient like me.” And, for most of us, we’ve found that we don’t like the way those “shoes” fit. We are all counting the days until we are able to get a COVID-19 vaccine and can slip back into our most comfortable “sneakers” and resume our lives. That hope buoys us and allows us to endure the daily challenges of wearing a mask, social distancing, staying at home, and other hardships. But what if there was no hope?

 

Valen, who remains an amazingly positive, outgoing, and effervescent woman, articulates beautifully that the reason she is able to live a happy, productive and fulfilling life is because of her dedicated medical team and the lifesaving medications she is reliant upon. She realizes that those medications didn’t appear magically but were the product of committed researchers and biopharmaceutical companies who invested their time and resources into research and development. 

 

 

See Valen share her experience, and why she still has hope for America's patients who depend on innovative medicines and treatments.

While Valen and millions of patients are certainly dependent on their medications to stay alive, there is something else vitally important to their future—and that’s hope.  Adopting government price setting policies will allow politicians to make decisions for patients and arbitrarily decide the value of our medicines – potentially discriminating against seniors, those with a disability and the chronically ill. That’s the opposite of instilling hope in the future.

 

Price setting policies will also stifle biopharmaceutical research and innovation even as we are on the cusp of developing new therapies for difficult diseases. Fixing our health care system is certainly a complex issue, but there are better solutions to help patients like Valen that won’t also jeopardize access and American innovation.

 

As we endure wearing our “uncomfortable shoes” while waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine, let us commit to raising our voices and ensure that America’s leadership position of developing promising research and innovation is not compromised.