Innovation, Treatment, and an Aging Population

Last Friday, there was an event held at the Bipartisan Policy Center entitled “Real World Evidence for Safe and Effective Cures: Medical Innovation for All Americans”.


Panel 1

The first panel of the morning included moderator Bill Frist, Senator Lamar Alexander, Representative Bart Gordon, and Doug Oliver. Oliver shared his personal journey with Malaria Levantines, a form of hereditary macular degeneration. He shared his story as an example of the importance of personalized medicine and how clinical trials, if perfumed the right way, can have dramatic results that have the possibility to positively impact the lives of many.


Major takeaways from the panel:

  • The large amount of money and resources spent on clinical trials.
  • In the case of the four biggest drivers of medicine (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease) today, innovation would save both lives and money.
  • A call for more regulatory clarity of the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Big data is important: how we obtain, use, and share information needs to become more efficient in order to serve many diverse populations.

Representative Frist concluded the panel by stating, “While we still have a way to go, under Alexander’s leadership, the Health Education Labor and Pensions committee has passed 19 pieces of legislation, clarification of rights, information sharing, interoperability, regulatory clarity (reducing ambiguity) and ways to ensure that patient’s perspectives are protected.”

The report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center can be found here. 


Panel 2

Janet Marchibroda, Director of Health Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center moderated the second panel.


Major takeaways from the panel:

  • We need to better ensure  people with chronic diseases and disabilities have accurate information to make decisions.
  • In order to stay competitive in the medical field, we need to continue to innovate.
  • There needs to be increased regulatory clarity by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Clinical trials are good at showing how a treatment performs in a very controlled environment, but this can have harmful effects on populations who were not considered in the initial study. This can also lead to data not being able to be easily replicated.

Recorded coverage of the morning’s events can be found here.


Final Thoughts:

The Coalition understands that many seniors have multiple conditions, which impact the potential level of effectiveness of some treatments. There is a trend to move the needs of seniors off of the priority lists of those who serve individuals through treatments. This leads to seniors receiving fewer services in a timely manner. It is important for members of the Coalition to be up to date on scientific discussions because these discussions will ultimately lead to policy changes, which could affect the work that the Coalition does. This event focused on the use of big data in medical innovation and personalized medicine. The largest takeaway from the morning was that clinical trials, while they do lead to innovation, are not necessarily the most reliable way to improve medical treatments. For example, if a medication is found to treat a condition in a controlled environment successfully, it could still potentially be harmful to an individual with underlying conditions. This becomes especially important when discussing healthcare for older adults who may have multiple conditions.

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