Today, biopharmaceutical researchers from PhRMA member companies are meeting virtually with members of Congress and staff to share their stories of transforming game-changing scientific discoveries into new treatments and cures for patients. They represent hundreds of thousands of biopharmaceutical researchers working throughout the United States who are at the heart of America’s robust research and development ecosystem, developing more innovative medicines than any other country in the world. Their work is often late into the night in labs where they relentlessly pursue new avenues of research on behalf of patients. The recent advancements in vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 reinforce the critical contributions of the people who dedicate their careers to research, facing setbacks, embracing stepping stones and driving scientific progress to benefit patients.
Biopharmaceutical researchers have been on the leading edge of a wave of life-changing innovations throughout the last decade. Their stories represent:
- A curative gene therapy for childhood blindness.
- Breakthrough treatments like CAR-T cell therapy, a type of immunotherapy that takes patient cells out of the body, trains them to be warriors, then reinserts them to rid the body of certain types of cancer.
- A personalized approach to treating cancer, basing a specific treatment off a patient’s specific genetic makeup and using the patient’s own defenses.
- “Tumor-agnostic” cancer treatments powered by our growing understanding of genetics, which target a specific genetic mutation instead of a tumor type.
- Biologic therapies that are made from living organisms through highly complex manufacturing processes that help provide personalized treatments to patients with a wide variety of conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Thanks to transformational science and innovative medicines like these, patients are now living longer and healthier lives. In fact, a recent study found biopharmaceutical innovation is responsible for 35% of the increase in life expectancy from 1990 to 2015.
Researchers’ conversations with policymakers and their staff will focus on how the policy environment can enable and accelerate scientific breakthroughs for patients by supporting a collaborative biopharmaceutical ecosystem with strong intellectual property protections, efficient regulatory systems and a competitive marketplace. Company researchers will further speak to the value of identifying, recruiting and fostering a strong STEM workforce. Today’s visits with members of Congress further emphasize why it’s critical to advance pro-innovation and patient-centered policies that maintain America’s leadership in biopharmaceutical innovation.
While biopharmaceutical researchers continue to tackle some of the most complex and devastating diseases, the industry’s capabilities to develop next generation therapies for diseases are being threatened by harmful pricing policy proposals. Instead, policymakers should take a holistic approach to lowering patient costs while supporting medical innovation and ensuring Americans have access to the best treatments available. This environment is critical to support the continued innovation for patients in diseases areas with high unmet need such as Alzheimer’s.
Learn more about America’s innovative biopharmaceutical ecosystem here.
Andrew Powaleny is Senior Director of Public Affairs at PhRMA and leads the organization's scientific communications. Before joining PhRMA in 2015, he worked in public affairs for a small firm in Washington, DC and served as Deputy Press Secretary for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Andrew came to Washington, D.C. via Connecticut with a degree from Eastern Connecticut State University where he majored in public policy and government. Andrew is active as a runner and volunteer with the DC Front Runners; most recently serving on its Board of Directors for three years as co-race director. He is also a member of the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists and mentors students through his alumni association with The Fund for American Studies. Andrew is passionate about scientific innovation, especially for mental illness, and his heroes are the men and women of America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.