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When friends ask about “reform.”

Friends who know I work with the pharmaceutical industry quiz me often about what healthcare reform means for our business.  It’s a loaded question, and one that can generate a slew of follow-up questions.

Here’s what I know:  According to the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation ( and the US Census, National Vital Statistics, new medicines generated 40% of the gain in life expectancy over the past 25 years.  That’s a lot when you think how much health-conscious the country has become during that time, with reductions in smoking, increased exercise, and better overall health education.  And yet according to annual data for 2006 compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),  just 10 cents of every dollar (or 10%) spent on health care went to medicines.

That’s quite a disparity.  Does that mean they should be equal – more of the healthcare dollar should be spent on medicines to match its impact on life expectancy?  Of course not.  But the value of new medicines and their impact on the quality of our lives shouldn’t be dismissed in the process.

So what will healthcare reform, in whatever “form”, ultimately mean for us?  It’s hard to say.  Given the gains in life expectancy, I’m not sure why anyone would want to make it harder for people to develop new medicines.  Yes, drug companies need to discover new medicines because it’s the product they sell.  But more than that, the clients we work with are good people.  They have families who are impacted (and sometimes devastated) by health issues just like everyone else.  They come to work every day not thinking only about the dollar, but thinking about the people they’ll someday help – children and adults who want to live longer, normal, healthy lives.  And no amount of legislation will ever change that.

Posted by qd_admin on April 12th, 2010 :: Filed under Advertising,Clinical Trials,Health Care
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