Conversations and healthy debate about issues facing our industry and the health care system are critical to addressing some of today’s challenges and opportunities. The PhRMA blog welcomes guest contributors, including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others, to share their perspectives and point of view.
Today, we are pleased to welcome a guest article from Amy Jimenez, a multiple sclerosis patient who is concerned about Congress’ latest drug pricing proposal and what it could mean for future research.
Fifteen years ago, after the birth of my second child, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I remember coming home from the doctor and crying. At a time when the excitement – and some of the stress – of our growing family was top-of-mind, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of fear and anguish after receiving my diagnosis.
Would I be able to care for my family, let alone myself? I could no longer say with certainty that I would be able to watch my children grow up and share in all of life’s little moments so many of us take for granted.
Nearly 1 million people are living with MS in the United States. MS causes the immune system to attack the protective sheath around our nerve fibers, which can lead to walking difficulties, muscle weakness and fatigue. Women are disproportionately impacted three times more than men. While our understanding of the causes of MS is limited, research shows that early diagnosis and new disease modifying therapy options are essential in fighting this disease in its earliest stages.
Thankfully, over the past decade as my disease has progressed, the medicines I’ve taken have progressed right alongside it.
Today, I’m on a medication that was first created for leukemia patients, but through further research after it was approved, scientists discovered it could also help treat MS. I’m so thankful researchers kept trying to find new ways to utilize the treatment because if they hadn’t, my disease could have progressed into something much worse!
Further, I’m incredibly proud to say that there are now 33 medicines in development for treating MS that have the potential to help save and improve lives like mine. But while researchers are devoting their life’s work to finding new cures and treatments, Congress is unfortunately considering policies that discourage investment in their work which will ultimately hinder continued research and development.
I agree that we must do something to make medicines more affordable and drive down costs for patients. But as Washington debates changes to health care, I’m worried they will jeopardize innovations like the one that saved my life and future innovations so many other patients are counting on.
I urge policymakers in Washington to oppose the latest drug pricing proposal. For some of us, their vote could be the difference between life and death.