Executive Director, Health and Drug Policy, Global Innovation Policy Center
October 12, 2021
America is where innovation thrives, and cutting-edge medicine is no exception. Right now, scientists are conducting more than 140,000 clinical trials across all 50 states to explore the potential of the therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and cures we need to fight disease—from coronavirus to cancer.
There’s no question that life-changing, lifesaving solutions are on the way - as long as we keep the path from mind to market as smooth and obstacle-free as possible. Because, as the data shows, the path is already treacherous enough.
Today, investing in new drug development requires between $1.7 billion and $3.2 billion upfront - and there’s little guarantee for success. For every 25,000 drug compounds that start in the laboratory, 25 make it to clinical trials, 5 make it to market, and only one recoups the costs invested. Similarly, new vaccine projects have an average 94 percent rate of failure.
Considering these realities, it’s a wonder that innovators take up the cause at all. And yet, more than 800,000 Americans work in the American biopharmaceutical industry, supporting more than three million additional jobs in related industries, from construction to transportation to manufacturing.
These are the Americans who have been working tirelessly, defying norms, and exceeding expectations, all in the name of a stronger, healthier future.
Now, it’s Congress's turn to do the same. Congress must focus on common-sense reforms that encourage, inspire and protect the American innovation sensation, that means:
- Not giving away American innovation to foreign competitors
- Lowering out-of-pocket costs for medicine without threatening the search for new cures
- Supporting local innovators who create good jobs and pioneer new medicines
- Promoting America’s leadership in medical innovation
Allowing businesses to own the rights to their discoveries
The pandemic has shown us that by working together, we can achieve the unprecedented in record time. With smart innovation policies in place, we can continue the momentum of progress.
Innovation Spotlight: mRNA Research Happening Now
One of the most promising tools in our disease-fighting arsenal is messenger RNA or mRNA. While you may be familiar with mRNA for its use in COVID-19 vaccines, researchers have been studying how to unleash the power of mRNA for decades to treat a variety of diseases including autoimmune diseases, respiratory viruses, and cancer.