Saturday, June 12, 2010

5 priorities for U.S. to overcome risk of losing global lead in medical innovation

The United States is quickly losing ground as the global leader in medical innovation -- and must pursue coordinated action at the highest levels of government to ensure U.S. competitiveness.  Most important, to find cures to costly and life-threatening diseases,
This according to a new study prepared by Battelle, entitled Gone Tomorrow? A Call to Promote Medical Innovation, Create Jobs, and Find Cures in America,” commissioned by the Council for American Medical Innovation (CAMI).  The study reflects direct feedback of leaders representing patients, academia, private industry, research, labor, venture capital, government, and economic development.

“Medical innovation presents the best opportunity to help innovate our way out of the health and economic crises facing America today, but it's clear the clock is ticking,” said Richard Gephardt, Former U.S. House Majority Leader and CAMI Chairman. “Advancing a national strategy for medical innovation that engages all sectors – public, private and academic – through an empowered federal office is an effective first step.”

For more than a year, CAMI has met with an array of experts, including entrepreneurs, innovators, clinicians and patient advocates, in communities across the United States to understand the challenges faced by those working to advance medical innovation. Based on those conversations, CAMI commissioned Battelle to identify and highlight the best public policy ideas, which CAMI will bring to Congress and the Obama Administration as part of a call for a focused national policy framework for medical innovation.

5-part National Policy Framework

Based on the core findings of the Battelle study, as well as the thousands of conversations and idea-sharing sessions held across the country, CAMI today outlined the following 5 near-term priorities to help drive this targeted framework:
  1. White House-Level Leadership: CAMI is calling on the Obama administration to give an appropriate federal office the responsibility to lead collaborative efforts to address the key challenges we face. Coordinating efforts at the highest levels of government is essential to ensuring near-term progress.
  2. Forming Unique Public-Private Partnerships: One consistent theme heard across the past year and cited in the study is that neither government nor the private sector is positioned to address single-handedly the challenges to America's leadership in biomedical innovation. Creating jobs, finding cures, and ensuring U.S. competitiveness for decades to come requires a coordinated national effort that engages leaders in the public and private sectors. For example, public-private collaboration is needed to bridge the gap referred to as the “valley of death” that exists between early-stage research, often funded through public sources, and later-stage development projects funded by private-sector sources. This gap currently delays the availability of new life-saving medicines, treatments, and technologies.
  3. Strengthening Investments in R&D and Manufacturing to Foster Job Growth and Enhance U.S. Competitiveness: Congress has a near-term opportunity to make the federal R&D tax credit permanent and raise it to levels that make it globally competitive, thus providing incentives for investment that will serve as a cornerstone of a national medical innovation agenda. CAMI also urges the federal government to adopt tax and economic incentives that will help boost manufacturing and export-related job growth resulting from medical innovation.
  4. Enhancing Regulatory Sciences Efforts at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): CAMI is calling on federal leaders to strengthen and meaningfully fund a collaborative effort to develop a Regulatory Sciences Roadmap that builds upon and advances existing efforts to bring the best science to the review and approval of biomedical advances.
  5. Increasing the U.S. Biosciences Talent Pool: With the U.S. falling behind other nations in math and science test scores and the technical skills needed to fuel a knowledge-based economy, CAMI is calling for targeted federal support for the biosciences through K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, bioscience teacher preparation and professional development.
“It is time for all stakeholders, from the private sector to government, to embrace an aggressive and comprehensive medical innovation agenda. If we make the right decisions today, the economic and human benefits provided through medical innovation will be far reaching. The time for action is now,” said Debra R. Lappin, president of CAMI.

“Our goal from the outset was to identify the core challenges and corresponding policy solutions to help keep the U.S. competitive in the long-term,” said Mitch Horowitz, vice president of Battelle. “The overwhelming message was that medical innovation has significant positive outcomes for the health of the nation, the health of the economy, and the health of Americans.”

For a full copy of the report, please visit

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