PhRMA CEO Stephen Ubl on Miracle of Creating a New Class of Medicine & Why Drug Prices are Actually At Historic Lows
This week, Senator Frist is joined by Stephen Ubl, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, which represents America’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies.
The U.S. biopharmaceutical sector directly employs more than 800,000 Americans and invests more than $100 billion in research and development annually — more than any other industry in America. Steve leads the advocacy for this industry in Washington, DC, across the country, and even globally.
A policy expert with a record of enacting meaningful healthcare reform, Steve joins Senator Frist to do a deep dive on the drug industry – examining costs, the supply chain, and the industry’s unprecedented response to Covid-19.
Speaking about the record-setting development of Covid vaccines, Steve commented that, “It’s extraordinarily difficult to create a new class of medicine, but it’s really a miracle frankly to do it inside a calendar year.”
And being on the forefront of the effort to end the pandemic is just one of the transformative developments happening in the biopharmaceutical industry. “It’s really an exciting time,” Steve explains. “We just had the first cell and gene therapy approved to reverse blindness in kids. CAR-T, which is really an incredible innovation aimed at cancer. It’s a smart bomb essentially that goes in the body, kills the cancer cells but spares the healthy cells. Great data coming out on sickle cell disease, Hemophilia A. It’s really the golden era of medicine today.”
In addition to detailing the latest innovations, he and Senator Frist discuss the “white-hot political debate” surrounding drug pricing. At odds with public perception, Steve shares that, “Prescription drugs are the only thing in the healthcare system where cost go down over time,” noting that drug spending and drug prices are actually growing at “historic lows,” both “under the rate of inflation.”
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