Biopharmaceuticals: Saving Lives and Saving Money

The biopharmaceutical sector invests in research that improves health and lengthens lives.  Researchers in the biopharma industry are working on treatments for diseases than range from AIDS to Tuberculosis to West Nile Virus.  These medicines improve the quality of our lives and also lower our healthcare bills.  Research shows that each dollar increase in pharmaceutical spending yields as reduction in hospital expenses of $3.65. 

Internationally, the United States is unrivaled in biopharma.  In 2007, more than 2,700 drugs were under development in the United States.  Throughout the rest of the world the total was only 1,700.  While celebrating their advances, we shouldn’t take the success of the biopharmaceutical industry for granted.  European and Asian companies are working diligently to overcome the American industry’s dominance.   Strong intellectual property rights protected our investments in biopharmaceutical research and development and incentivized the resulting lifesaving technologies.  Such protection is critical to ensuring that the United States maintains its leadership in this industry. 

It is essential that the United States remain a place where creativity is fostered, where research is rewarded and innovation is encouraged.  This requires that our leaders make certain it is easy for biotech firms to start up and that they support policies that help these firms attract venture capital.  Our leaders should also promote the education, training, and incentives needed to foster an environment of innovation.   Critical to this effort are the strong intellectual property laws that safeguard the return to innovation and R&D investments.  Enshrining strong IP protection in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will ensure the continued development of innovative treatment therapies and preserve America’s role as a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry.