Guest Post: Following my stroke, having access to ground-breaking medical innovation has never been more important

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor September 4, 2019


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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 Catalyst welcomes guest contributors, including patients, stakeholders, innovators and others, to share their perspectives and point of view. Views represented here may not be those of PhRMA, though they are no less key to a healthy dialogue on issues in health care today.

Josh Hardens photoToday, we are pleased to welcome a guest post from Voters for Cures advocate Josh Harden.

Josh has been the beneficiary of our country’s leading medical advancements throughout his life. Since he was young, he has battled significant heart ailments requiring ongoing treatments.

At 27 years old, I already know first-hand what it means to depend on medicines for your health. I was born with a heart condition, which has required a pacemaker and a steady regimen of a range of medicines. This past year, I had a stroke. While I’m grateful to be in the midst of a successful recovery, it’s clearer than ever how important lifesaving medical innovation is to keeping my health on track. 

My story isn’t necessarily unique – many Americans experience similar health concerns and rely on a range of treatments to maintain their health. But my personal road to recovery is another example of why medical innovation and America’s commitment to the next generation of cures and treatments are so important. The science driving many of the treatments for serious, complex conditions has never been more promising.

We cannot take this momentum and progress for granted. When I hear that policymakers in Washington want to move forward with penny-wise and pound-foolish laws that would threaten my access to the treatments that I need, it’s a disheartening message. The fact that federal lawmakers are considering a proposal to impose foreign price controls on American patients and seniors will make it harder for me and millions of Americans to benefit from innovative new treatments.

While we must make sure medicines are affordable, we cannot sacrifice future innovation in the process. I’m concerned the International Pricing Index (IPI) proposal – and any proposal that allows the government to set the price of medicines – will come at the expense of treating the most complex and scary health conditions that a patient would face. We need to support more research into the conditions that need to be treated, not cut off future progress. That is not the future I want for myself or for other patients.

From my experience, I know that patients need the full range of options to best treat their condition, and physicians and patients need the freedom to make the right decision based on that patient’s individual needs. Patients also need hope that more treatments and better treatments are coming that can improve their standard of living with a disease or even cure them of a disease.

The IPI proposal would clearly have a substantial impact on new and current biopharmaceutical projects that could help patients like me. I hope our representatives in Washington stand up for patients and focus on policies that can help us access and afford these treatments in the future.

Click here to join me in standing up for medical innovation. 

Topics: Research and Development, Access, Patients, International Reference Pricing, Voters for Cures