Biopharmaceutical innovation helps patients live longer, healthier lives and provides hope to those living with chronic diseases that currently lack effective treatments. NPC research shows that medical innovation is a good investment that has significantly improved patient health and quality of life for conditions with severe morbidity or mortality.
In NPC’s new 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. Watch the first video below.
Why does biopharmaceutical innovation matter?
Dr. Mark Fendrick, professor of medicine and public health, University of Michigan: Biopharmaceutical innovations to prevent and treat conditions have led to impressive reductions in morbidity and mortality. In fact, with colleagues from Harvard Medical School, we published a paper in Health Affairs in 2020 that's showing 1/3 of life expectancy increases over the past two decades are attributable to pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Peter Emtage, CEO at Santa Ana Bio, venture partner at Versant Ventures: We've gone through a renaissance in the way patients with not only cancer but various indications and areas of disease have been treated. You know, from my own personal experience and heart are cell therapies — these have really pushed the boundaries of patients with cancer, and they've been instrumental in bringing hope to patients and their families.
Katherine Fielding, person with cystic fibrosis and patient advocate: I consider the most important biopharmaceutical innovation in the past 20 years to be genetic modulators for cystic fibrosis (CF). They have impacted a huge portion of the CF population, allowing better day-to-day quality of living experiences for people with CF, as well as better medical outcomes. It's just been really revolutionary to my community.
Anna Hyde, vice president of advocacy and access, Arthritis Foundation: For autoimmune forms of arthritis, and particularly rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one that people tend to be most familiar with, the advent of biologic disease-modifying antibiotic drugs has been absolutely revolutionary. There are stories of what waiting rooms, for example, looked like in doctors’ offices, where you would often hear it described as a sea of wheelchairs, and then after biologic medications became common for treating RA you rarely see that anymore.
Why do we need to keep innovating?
Dr. Mark Fendrick: If we don't continue to push hard to innovate -- to be able to have the new medications in 20 years that I could look back on the same way as I do for the drugs that I use routinely for hepatitis, for cancer, for heart disease, for mental health -- a great opportunity I think will be missed.
Katherine Fielding: There are still people waiting for innovation. About 10% of the CF community does not qualify for the available modulators, so we need other innovations.
Anna Hyde: Our concern is that if there's not further innovation in the treatment of arthritis that patients will continue to experience high and oftentimes debilitating levels of pain. And it's something that they'll have to face for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Brian D. Smith, professor, researcher, and author: Unlike many other industries, this really is a matter of life and death. In other industries, if we get it wrong, you may not have a model car you want or the style of fashion you want, or the type of electronics that you want. If we get it wrong in the pharmaceutical industry people really do die or they really do suffer. If we get it right, we make a huge life-changing difference to people's real lives.