Government, foundations form alliance for cheaper medicine

Government, foundations form alliance for cheaper medicine

A new partnership aims to lower the prices of medicine.

The federal government, along with drug makers and other organizations, is forming a partnership in order to create new medicines and bring them to patients faster and cheaper. Together, these groups plan to share expertise and research data, and focus on how a disease begins and progresses.

Combining the resources of these entities will aid in finding the best point of attack for developing new medicines, according to a statement released by the newly formed organization. Organizations involved in the partnership include the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), ten drug makers, and six disease-related foundations.

The partnership, “Accelerating Medicines Partnership,” will focus particularly at complex, expensive chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.  Studies will be aimed towards identifying biological targets that are present in a disease.  These targets can range from abnormal genes to particular proteins within the disease.

According to industry sources, almost 95 percent of experimental drugs and medicines fail.  It takes several decades and over $1 billion for a new drug to be tested and approved to be sold in the market.  Due to the fact this process is so long and costly, it limits the number of possible new medicines that drug makers can develop.  It also means that patients that are suffering from a disease, such as Alzheimer’s that has no permanent treatment, are waiting longer for better treatments and medicines to be discovered.

“Currently we are investigating a great deal of money and time in avenues with high failure rates, while patients and their families wait.  All sectors of the biomedical enterprise agree that new approaches are sorely needed,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the NIH.

Accelerating Medicines Partnership will begin with a three-to-five-year pilot, and a budget of $230 million over the first five years.  About $130 million of the budget will go towards research on Alzheimer’s, which is a disease with no treatments other the ones that only temporarily ease symptoms.

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