Three decades ago, concern about HIV-AIDS topped the list of health challenges facing Americans across the country. In the early 1980s, life expectancy for a patient with AIDS was just weeks or months. Today, a patient diagnosed with HIV can expect to live to normal life expectancy thanks to biopharmaceutical innovation that has changed the trajectory of treatment for the disease – and for many conditions facing millions of patients around the country.
In this new era of medicine, groundbreaking biopharmaceutical treatments are transforming patient care and our approach to tackling the most challenging health conditions. The evolution of genomics and personalized medicine allows physicians to tailor the approach to the unique needs of the patient and immunotherapy harnesses patients’ own immune systems to fight off various conditions, including cancer and rare diseases.
For millions of Americans, new and emerging therapies and treatments are the foundation for their future health and for the health of the country. Consider this – it’s estimated that there will be more than 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses this year, and approximately 600,000 U.S. cancer deaths in 2017. At the same time, there are more than 240 immuno-oncology medicines and vaccines in development, which all hold immense promise for patients around the country and the world.
Biopharmaceutical innovation is also essential to tackling the persistent cost challenges that come from treating complex and chronic health conditions. We need this kind of innovation in Alzheimer’s and many other diseases to avoid bankrupting our health care system in the future.
Despite this progress, patient access to lifesaving innovation is at risk. Medical breakthroughs
and discovery are difficult and uncertain and become far more challenging to achieve in light of policies that undermine biopharmaceutical innovation in the U.S. On top of that, too many patients have to fight to get the medicine they and their doctor say is best for their health.
We know that vital medicines are only successful if the people who need them can get them. We know we can achieve both access and system-wide affordability together. That’s why we need to make sure that federal, state and local politicians support policies that improve access to these treatments for patients today and protect the innovation of tomorrow.