Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Health Policy Divide: East Coast vs. West Coast (Part 2: The Climate for Innovation)

The Council for American Medical Innovation hosted an event in Washington DC January 12 focused on the policy climate for innovation, and one theme was unmistakable: if the US doesn’t make a sustained effort, it risks losing its position of leadership in medical innovation to other countries hungry to attract those investments.

US policymakers, said Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America CEO John Castellani, need to take seriously the notion that industrial policy can and should encourage innovation.

That has been a common enough theme for the biopharma sector for decades, but the focus of international competition has changed. As the tweets from the conference make clear, everyone now sees China as the up-and-coming center for medical innovation, the country willing to do whatever it takes to attract the best and brightest innovators.

At the same time, the JP Morgan health care conference in San Francisco was devoting an entire track to Chinese companies—and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, it was standing room only.

By that metric, China’s efforts to attract investment in innovation sure seem to be working.

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