Those looking for a preview of the State of the Union and the U.S. economy can find one – or fifty – by looking at the state of the states, each a unique economic motor powering essential components of America’s economic strength and competitiveness in the world.
From the perspective of the biopharmaceutical industry, the states are strong, and we remain committed to continued, innovative investment in great American manufacturing across them. But this level of investment is only possible if there are the talented workers and vendor relationships – the critical supply chain backbone – in place to support it. Thankfully, there are – but still, there’s work to do.
Over the past year, the industry working group “We Work for Health” combed through vendor and supplier data from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) member companies to demonstrate just how strong this network is.
In 2013, eighteen PhRMA member companies invested $63 billion through 125,000 vendor relationships in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These range from small businesses providing critical links in the supply chain in Alaska, to large manufacturing support systems providing other, crucial links across Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and more.
While each of these relationships and investments matter, they also deliver a profound multiplying effect, found in the cash registers of those supermarkets, department stores, gas stations and restaurants where our supply chain family decide to spend their own dollars and create additional American jobs for those in their communities. While the biopharmaceutical industry employs 810,000 Americans directly, the industry’s presence supports nearly 3.4 million total jobs, including those that are indirectly supported or induced by industry activity.
All these components enabled our industry to invest more than $51 billion in research and development in 2013, helping expand the pipeline of potential new medicines to a size and scale larger than it has been in recent history.
This means that vendor investments made in New York can pay off in a new treatment for use by a lung cancer patient in South Dakota. Or that future investments in your home state might benefit a patient living thousands of miles from you – or right around your corner.
All of these people and all of these numbers matter because the ability to innovate is now the most important determinant of economic growth and a nation’s ability to compete and prosper in the modern knowledge-based economy – and biopharmaceuticals is the industry that invests the most of its resources in research and development.
This gives America a continued competitive advantage in the global marketplace – but our competitors are not standing by idly. So we need to continue working collaboratively to ensure policies are put in place to encourage continued investment in innovation – and recognize the enormous societal value this innovation creates.
Over the past year, I’ve traveled to dozens of states and seen, up close, the work our teams, and their value chains, do in laboratories, manufacturing plants and out in the field with our most important partners: patients. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job. But 2015 is already demanding expanded vigilance and hard work to stimulate economic growth. Our industry looks forward to working in all 50 states to ensure that this work is done – and that patients continue to see the resulting benefits.
John J. Castellani is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)