Letter from the Editor
And Now, the Good News
I could list all the complaints and anxieties we have in the industry today. But not in
this column. For now, let’s look at the other side of the cloud.
We continue to reduce the death rates from many cancers. And people are more
likely to survive at least 5 years after being diagnosed with those cancers. And, despite
the wailing about healthcare costs—which, admittedly, are higher than in other
industrialized countries—our total nationwide spending is slowing, according to the
Kaiser Family Foundation, which expects it to maintain a slower rate than we have
experienced in recent years.
Millions more people are insured. Medical advances in many specialties continue to make headlines regularly.
Just since the middle of the last century, we have turned infectious disease deaths (which used to total over
100,000 a year) into treatable or preventable disorders. Most of the 1.25 million Americans who suffer heart
attacks every year—who just a few decades ago had no thrombolytic drugs, beta blockers, stents or bypass
grafts to depend on—can now return to relatively normal lives, with a more optimistic prognosis for their
futures. In addition, we’ve become much better at heading off those heart attacks, with statins and other
medications (not to mention a better understanding of lifestyle factors) to reduce the risk. The treatments for
high blood pressure have significantly reduced the rates of kidney failure and stroke.
More recently, we’ve almost miraculously turned HIV from a certain death sentence into a manageable
We have also leapt forward in developing anti-psychotics that offer the prospect of reasonably normal living
to people who formerly would have been institutionalized.
Not to mention the progress that has been made on neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, MS, and ALS
therapies, which hold a promise of being reliably treated in the near future.
And, as much as it has presented a high hurdle to the industry, the FDA has served a significant purpose in
increasing the safety and efficacy of our products. We are not the only industry with regulations—and we
are the one people depend on most.
Here’s to us. And to the progress ahead.
As always, we continue to look for the value of your contributions. Let us know if you have an idea for an
article—the people we write for are the people who write for us.
Neil Greenberg, Editor
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