How many times did you hear, “Here’s to good health” this holiday season? As we age, we become increasingly aware of the importance of “good health.” That’s one reason so many people felt hopeful about a recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the agency approved more than 50 new molecular entities in 2018, including 16 approvals for cancer drugs, as well as drugs for HIV, Hepatitis C and rare diseases. Twenty of the new drugs came from companies with a footprint in New Jersey.
This is an exciting time, one of unprecedented innovation within our life sciences industry. The nature and pace of this innovation are fundamentally transforming health care. Through innovative medicines, we are able to improve a patient’s quality of life. Good health is so important, particularly as we see a larger and older population with increasing health care needs. As the population ages, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure and glaucoma will add to the demand for health care.
New Jersey will continue to recognize and support the work of the industry and enact policies that foster innovation and growth in the biopharmaceutical industry.
With that demand, I hope will come a focus on results and to maximizing value, ensuring that we are getting the best health outcome for each and every patient, and for each and every dollar that we spend. Focusing on health outcomes can go a long way toward addressing the pressures the health system faces. If we focus on the interventions that work best and stop those that don’t, we can improve the quality of care, reduce waste and ensure we are only paying for medicines that improve health outcomes, creating headroom for medicines that work and get to the patients who need them.
I have been in the life sciences industry for most of my professional life and am fortunate to be able to lead BioNJ. I have a deep respect for what the biopharmaceutical industry does and believe we have a tremendous opportunity to continue to make a difference for patients. In order to keep this momentum going, we must acknowledge the need to support further research and innovation. Just imagine how far biomedical innovation can take us if supported by sound policies, legislation and regulation. I am confident that with the leadership of Governor Phil Murphy and our elected officials, New Jersey will continue to recognize and support the work of the industry and enact policies that foster innovation and growth in the biopharmaceutical industry.
My wish in 2019 is to spur further innovation by the biopharmaceutical industry so that our companies continue to discover and develop new and life changing treatments for the patients who need them, right here at home. “Here’s to good health.”
Debbie Hart is president and CEO of BioNJ, a life sciences trade association with nearly 400 member companies representing research-based life sciences. BioNJ supports the discovery, development and commercialization of therapies and cures by driving capital formation, fostering entrepreneurship, advocating public policies, providing access to education and offering cost-saving commercial resources.