Benjamin: "This nation always spends money on what it wants to … I’m not so sure why we can’t invest in research."
Goldman: “We’re wasting a lot of the creative energy that’s available here in this country by making it so difficult for young people to do research, to become scientists.”
Public health is "a team sport," Benjamin said, and different groups have been working toward a multidisciplinary approach, as seen with the fight against tobacco. "That's really the centerprice of what public health does."
Watters: “Public health is a team sport but it shouldn’t be a competitive sport.”
Janet Woodcock, M.D., director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration: “We are on the verge of a therapeutic revolution due to discoveries in genomics, molecular biology and plain old biology.”
The U.S. system of research has its strengths and weaknesses, said E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, dean, University of Maryland, School of Medicine.
The way we train scientists, the way we conduct research and the peer review process are methodical and rigorous, although not perfect. Our weakness, however, is sustainability, he said. "We have a roller-coaster approach with our research programs, and that is not sustainable."
Janet Woodcock said they are trying to change how drugs and vaccines are evaluated, calling the system “too expensive” and “too inefficient.”
A problem for the United States, Reece said, is: "No one runs a business, a home, anything, without a predictable source of revenue ... We have boom or bust."
Robert Hugin, chairman and CEO, Celgene Corporation: “We have to be talking about how to reduce the costs of health care and making it more value oriented.”
Celgene’s Hugin said that 86% of drugs are generics. “You wouldn’t have those low cost drugs if we hadn’t invested in R&D and made them.”
University of Maryland’s Reece said he’s concerned about the emphasis on efficiency and cutting costs in research, and that we do so at our own peril.