Advocating for Access to Innovative, Affordable Medicines

Today's guest blog comes from Dan Wahby, Lilly's senior director of state government affairs 

As the head of our State Government Affairs team, I have the privilege of advocating every day for patient access to innovative, best-in-class medicines that Lilly scientists spend years, sometimes even decades, researching and developingState Government Affairs meets regularly with state legislators and governors to educate them about our innovative research and discuss how we can work together to improve patient access and control costs for the people who need our medicines.  

Behind all of our work are the passionate, brilliant scientists in labs around the world. At Lilly, we have more than 8,000 scientists working in eight countries who are committed to fulfilling unmet medical needs to treat some of society’s greatest health challenges in immunology, oncology, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and pain. Their work represents just a fraction of the significant resources that PhRMA member companies put into discovering new treatmentsOften times they spend their entire career, driven by personal connection and intellectual curiosity, focused on finding an elusive treatment to a single medical challenge. This golden age of medical innovation we are living in would not be possible without the dedication of our scientific researchers. 

With this in mind, Lilly’s government affairs team enjoys the opportunity to bring Lilly scientists to share their stories with legislators. These scientists, who work on issues as varied as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and digital health, shared their personal stories of why they decided to pursue a career in science, the health challenges their research is trying to help, and what exactly they do every day.

Lilly's Stephanie Edwards spoke with New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky earlier this year.

During a legislative meeting this year, we were struck by what one of our researchers, Stephanie Edwards, said about what drew her to research in diabetes, “As a person with diabetes myself, I have experienced firsthand the meteoric advances in diabetes research and technology over the past several years. I wanted to be a part of that and work toward improving care for all people with diabetes.”

Her singular focus is to find a diabetes solution that uses technology to improve outcomes and quality of life.  Her comments should remind all of us that making sure patients can access the medicines she and her colleagues help bring from the lab to the market is our priority in government affairs. This is true whether we are talking about the effects of benefit design on patient costs, the risks of importation, or the need for policies that both encourage and reward innovation. 

For the legislators and staff we met with, hearing from people like Stephanie Edwards helped connect the dots between the pharmaceutical industry’s research and the role of sound public policy focused on patient access and affordability. You can find out what Lilly is doing to help patients on this front, especially with insulin affordability, by visiting