When measuring the impact of the biopharmaceutical industry, the development of medicines that improve and save lives quickly comes to mind. From insulin to antidepressants to enhanced therapies for cancer, research-based companies like Lilly have contributed to longer and healthier lives across the globe (since 1900, life expectancy has doubled).
But the benefits don't end in the doctor's office. Just ask any mayor, governor, or member of Congress with a pharmaceutical or biotech company in their backyard. More than likely, you'll hear some healthy chatter about jobs and tax revenue that come from these research-based companies, their business partners, and vendors that support these organizations.
Our trade association, PhRMA, recently published total employment, direct jobs, tax revenue, and research and development spend for each state. In California, for instance, you'll see that nearly 500,00 jobs are supported by the industry. Keep in mind this includes not only biotech firms, but research support and all sorts of vendors from shipping, packaging, communications, and legal support. Another 173,000 jobs are in Texas, and nearly 400,000 more are in New York and New Jersey.
In Indiana, where life sciences took on newfound importance during the recession and downturn in the automobile and other manufacturing industries, nearly 88,000 jobs are supported by the life sciences and billions of dollars are spent each year on research and development. In 2010, Lilly spent more than $1 billion on vendors in Indiana alone - representing an economic impact that's tough to match.
The White House and Congress are looking for ways to cut spending to address the deficit crisis. Cash-strapped states are going through the same exercise. Let's hope innovation is not a casualty in these discussions. Medical innovation saves lives and produces jobs (and important tax revenues). Innovative-based industries like biopharmaceuticals can be part of the solution.