Americans expect to live beyond 80 years of age. This represents just one of the findings from two recent surveys by PhRMA and the Pew Research Center demonstrating American optimism about the future of health care and aging. These positive attitudes on aging could help the healthcare industry understand how it can better serve an aging population.
As the population looks towards living longer lives they focus more on their own health. According to the PhRMA survey, 58 % of Americans pay more attention to their personal health today than in the past. A greater interest in personal health means an emphasis on preventative measures and an amplified awareness of health concerns like heart disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s which helps shape what kind of medical innovations they expect down the line. For example, Pew’s research found that seven out of ten Americans believe we will have a cure for most forms of cancer by 2050. With these expectations, the health care industry must do what they can to innovate for real cures. However, the road to a cure requires more than just expectations. These surveys confirm that for a long-living health-focused population, we need a thriving innovation ecosystem. So what are some examples of what we need to do to meet America’s expectations?
- We need to invest in research. Over 65% of the Pew survey respondents agree that funding for clinical trials and other research is extremely important.
- We need a streamlined and responsive approval process. Pushing through the MODDERN Cures Act could allow patients suffering from rare diseases to get the drugs they need to market faster.
- We need to ensure the accessibility of new treatments to everyone. Over 66% of the Pew respondents were skeptical that new treatments would be universally accessible. Protecting Medicare Part D would address the accessibility challenge by getting medicines to people who need them the most.
A Policy Culture Friendly to Innovation
Creating and protecting a policy environment that supports the success of programs like Part D and legislation like the MODDERN Cures Act represent our best hope at meeting the needs and expectations of patients. We need to ensure that our health-focused and aging-optimistic population gets the treatment they need to thrive. These surveys make it clear that Americans look forward to their future, now it is up to the healthcare industry to live up their expectations.