Every year biopharmaceutical companies produce health care innovations that improve patient outcomes and bring value to society broadly.
The rapid development, production, distribution, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines is a clear example of the incredible benefits of biopharmaceutical innovation. One study estimated that COVID-19 vaccines prevented about 3 million cases and 140,000 deaths during the first five months of 2021.
In NPC’s Innovation Matters video series, hear from patient advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders about how biopharmaceutical innovation has impacted their lives and why continuing to foster innovation is important to them.
Research from the NPC and RTI Health Solutions found that health outcomes between 1990 and 2017 for individuals with six serious conditions would have been significantly worse without major drug innovations. The authors conclude that policymakers should carefully consider the impact of drug pricing proposals on innovation as disincentivizing innovation could result in fewer potentially life-changing drugs.
Biopharmaceutical innovation improves the quality of life for patients with debilitating health conditions. One NPC study found that physicians attributed more than half of patient outcome improvements for the eight leading causes of death to innovative medicines — far more than any other intervention.
Biopharmaceutical innovation demonstrates positive returns on investment for the health system. NPC research showed that between 1995 and 2015, increased spending on medical interventions resulted in significant improvements in patient health for six of the top seven causes of death and disability. In addition, while the total spending for these conditions increased, when adjusted for inflation and disease prevalence, per-patient spending actually decreased for four of the seven conditions.
Despite the role of biopharmaceutical innovation in advancing patient life expectancy and quality of life, the current health policy debate has predominantly focused on drug costs. But drug prices alone are not the cause of patients’ financial burden.
Regulation of drug prices will not only result in fewer innovative medicines coming to market, but it is unlikely to increase patient affordability. Reforming health benefit designs would be a better approach to truly address affordability concerns for patients.
NPC research revealed that if government price regulation lowered drug costs by 15%, most health plan decision-makers surveyed would not pass along savings to patients via lower copays or coinsurance rates.