Our best hope for a sustainable health care model

A large percentage of the research being done by America’s biopharmaceutical companies is dedicated toward innovative treatments that can extend the lives, or improve the quality of life, of patients with chronic debilitating disease. There is also promising research currently underway focusing on cures for our most deadly, and expensive, diseases.

These new treatments and cures will not only benefit patients, they will benefit us all. By reducing, or in some cases eliminating, the need for expensive surgeries, lengthy hospital stays, lifelong treatment protocols and nursing home expenses, biopharmaceutical innovations will drive value across the entire health care system. Ultimately, these innovations could well save America’s health care system from economic collapse.

Hepatitis C is an example of a disease that is currently experiencing promising cure rates. As more patients receive the newest generation of hepatitis C medicines, we can expect to see a decline in the staggering long-term cost of treating this disease that affects millions of Americans, while also preventing its spread and possibly one day eradicating the disease entirely.

The 23 percent decline in hospitalization rates for HIV/AIDS patients between 2002 and 2007 is another example of how new medicines are dramatically reducing health care costs.

As one venture capitalist specializing in biotechnology recently wrote, “We waste trillions every year in a reactive health system, tending to the dying in hospitals and on untreatable family members languishing in long-term care. Innovative drugs that cure diseases are not the enemy, they are the solution.”

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