PharmExec's 2006 Forecast - Pharmaceutical Executive

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PharmExec's 2006 Forecast
A YEAR of THREATS


Pharmaceutical Executive


THE PhRMA VIEW


Billy Tauzin
I'm telling my colleagues at PhRMA to enjoy the holiday in December because when the new year begins, they're going to be busy.

Not long ago, the Partnership for Patient Assistance (PPA) matched its millionth patient with an assistance program providing free or nearly free medication. But millions of uninsured Americans still need help, and PPA is in for the long haul.

We will also continue to educate patients and healthcare professionals about the role of direct-to-consumer advertising in patient education and about industry efforts to enhance the value of ads.

In Congress, we will work with lawmakers to promote access to safe, affordable medicines. We will continue to oppose legislation, such as risky importation bills, that threaten the safety of consumers and impede access to needed medicines.

We are watching developments in the states, as governors and legislatures grapple with how to balance their budgets and still provide quality healthcare, education, and other important services. Unfortunately, some states focus too narrowly on cuts in prescription drug spending, which in Medicaid will account for only 3 percent of total program costs after many patients start receiving drug coverage under Part D of Medicare. Limiting Medicaid patients' access to medicines hurts America's poorest and most vulnerable citizens—and in the long run, may drive healthcare expenses up, as patients are deprived of medicines they need to lead productive, healthy lives.

On the international stage, we will address healthcare reform in Japan, continuing cost containment pressure in Europe, and a serious lack of understanding in such nations as China, India, and Brazil about the value of intellectual property patents in local economic development and in helping tens of millions of patients receive medicines they desperately need.

On the regulatory front, PhRMA is concerned that patients might not receive the newest medicines in a timely manner if FDA does not maintain a balanced focus on benefits and risks. The agency has the world's best drug safety record, with fewer than 3 percent of medicines having been withdrawn from the market for safety reasons over the last 20 years.

We will leave no stone unturned in our effort to ensure that our companies have the environment necessary to continue developing new medicines that help people around the world by saving lives.


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