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Published: October 11, 2016

Top Takeaways from Georgia Bio 2016

Every year, biotech industry leaders throughout the southeastern United States convene at Georgia Bio’s flagship conference. Georgia Bio 2016 was no different as hundreds of professionals representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, patient advocacy groups, innovative growth stage companies, service providers and academic institutions met at the Cobb Galleria Center on September 28th.

Gatherings like Georgia Bio provide the opportunity for healthcare thought leaders to share varying perspectives, a critical precursor in the development of a common vision of value across stakeholders.

In case you were not able to attend, here were a few of our top takeaways from #GaBioSummit.

The pharmaceutical manufacturer view: shifting perception and solving for value is going to take a village

Jim Greenwood, President & CEO of the Bio Industry Organization, delivered a breakfast keynote where he outlined the industry’s ability to deliver value, including areas of healthcare spending increasing faster than pharma. He highlighted a new advertising campaign and web property dubbed “Innovation Saves” intended to change the public’s current perception of the pharmaceutical industry.

It’s true. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are doing wondrous work bringing not just new therapies, but cures for chronic illnesses like hepatitis C to market.  These therapies are capable of reducing overall healthcare costs and improving the lives of millions of patients worldwide. In his own words, essentially similar to those he delivered to Forbes last month,

“What patients notice is what comes out of their pockets, [Greenwood said.] “That’s not up to us—it’s up to the insurance companies. If a cancer drug costs $100,000 and an insurer imposes a 30% co-insurance, the patient has to find $30,000. The patient doesn’t have $30,000. Say that price is cut in half. The patient now has to find $15,000. And it might as well be $30,000. People aren’t sitting around with $15,000 in their wallets. We cut our price by two-thirds, and they’re still paying $10,000.

“So we can’t unilaterally remove the burden from the patient. Insurance companies can. Regardless of whether we cut our price by 50% or two-thirds, innovation will be over.”

We know that the shift to value-based care will be challenging for every member of the ecosystem, including providers, patients, payers and manufacturers.  A successful outcome of this shift is predicated on improved stakeholder alignment.  We see the results of successful, value-based collaboration every day through our patient support services, medication management programs and our partner organizations.

The patient voice: breaking down silos between industry and patients

To provide the patient perspective, the Georgia Bio 2016 programming committee convened a lunch keynote led by Jesse Milan, Jr., JD, Interim President & CEO, AIDS United.

Jesse told an impassioned story about how he recently celebrated his 60th birthday. In no small part due to the phenomenal advancements in science brought by the pharmaceutical industry, Jesse has been living with HIV for 30 years. [Related - Curant Health’s medication therapy management programs and patient support services are proven to improve outcomes and reduce costs for HIV patients.]

Jesse then invited Andy Lipman, author and member of the board of directors of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Suz Schrandt, JD, director of patient engagement for the Arthritis Foundation to join him. At the age of 38, Andy passed the current median life expectancy for people with Cystic Fibrosis. Andy is now 42 years old. Suz was diagnosed with rheumatic disease at age 14.

Getting to value: tying economic measures to clinical studies will be key to value-based development and commercialization

During the afternoon breakout session focused on value derivation, Jake Caines, Director of Commercial Strategy for Curant Health, suggested that economic metrics are a ‘must do’ when it comes to clinical trials and studies. In the ACA era, if a new pharmaceutical therapy, healthcare service or device is not able to improve both factors of the value equation, outcomes divided by costs, it will be severely handicapped in its commercial success.

We eagerly await the results of value-based studies and analyses on which we are working with pharmaceutical manufacturers and provider partners including Johns Hopkins, Northwestern University and others.

We would like to thank Georgia Bio for their continued leadership and commitment to the advancement of our regional bioscience and medtech community. The Curant Health team was honored to be invited to share insights on the definition of “value,” the price of innovation, implementing outcomes-based reimbursement, the impact of health policies on behavior and the relationship between price and cost of all facets of healthcare delivery.

If you’d like to know more about what’s needed to derive the greatest value from specialty pharmaceuticals for chronically ill patients on complex regimens, contact Senior Director of Marketing, Kristin Lindsey, at or call 866-437-8040.

We look forward to Georgia Bio 2017!

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