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Innovation in Passing … And For the Future

October 7, 2011

One of the great transformative figures of our era, Steven Jobs, passed away this week. Very sad … and also very premature. He was 56.

Jobs was a visionary and a genius. He had everything — wealth, charisma, influence, and the ability to access the best care in the world. None of that was sufficient to stave off the rare type of pancreatic cancer that took his life.

His death is a reminder of why we value health so highly. You cannot buy “cures” the way you can buy an iPad.

Ironically, Steven Jobs died the same day (October 5) as Commissioner Hamburg unveiled FDA’s new initiatives to spur biomedical innovation and improve the health of Americans.

This is FDA’s blueprint for addressing “concerns about the sustainability of the medical product development pipeline, which is slowing down despite record investments in research and development.”

The blueprint focuses on implementing the following major actions:

  • Rebuilding FDA’s small business outreach services
  • Building the infrastructure to drive and support personalized medicine
  • Creating a rapid drug development pathway for important targeted therapies
  • Harnessing the potential of data mining and information sharing while protecting patient privacy
  • Improving consistency and clarity in the medical device review process
  • Training the next generation of innovators
  • Streamlining and reforming FDA regulations

“America is at an important crossroads, where the science before us presents unprecedented opportunities to create new and better medical products and to promote better health for the public,” said Hamburg. “Our innovation blueprint highlights some of the initiatives FDA will be implementing to ensure that these opportunities are translated into safe and effective treatments that can help keep both American patients and American industry healthy and strong.”

In memory of Steven Jobs … and all the Americans who died prematurely this week, this year, and this decade … the Alliance wishes FDA, patient organizations, and industry the greatest possible success in turning this blueprint into the reality of longer and better lives.

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