Health reform: Balancing savings and discovery

FT Blog post pic As policymakers in the United States implement health care reform, AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan urged them to keep a careful eye on balancing the need to contain costs with fostering an environment that promotes medical discovery.

“There is a risk that short run cost savings may prove expensive in the long run,” Brennan said in a speech Wednesday at the FT Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology conference in London.

“Increased burdens on the pharmaceutical industry, an overly cautious FDA, or weakened intellectual property regulation could all undermine the United States’ ability to attract health research and investment,” Brennan said. “And if we want to see medical breakthroughs, the United States will need a healthcare system that supports a strong, vibrant and competitive research-based pharmaceutical industry.”

Given that, Brennan said, the pharmaceutical industry must remain engaged with policymakers as health care reform is implemented.

“We need to remain focused on the central goal of getting the right medicines to the right patients in an affordable way,” he said. “That should be true of everyone involved. So, as we start on the hard road of implementation, we must not lose sight of what is in the interests of patients.”

– By Tony Jewell