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PhRMA survey finds 249 medicines in the pipeline for African Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 13, 2002 -- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are working on 249 new medicines for diseases that disproportionately afflict African Americans, or diseases that are among the top 10 causes of death among African Americans, according to a new survey by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The 249 medicines represent a more than 50 percent increase since a 1998 survey on medicines in development for diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans.

"This stepped up research offers hope for closing the health gap between African Americans and the majority population, and increases the likelihood that all Americans will share in the benefits of medical progress," said PhRMA President Alan F. Holmer.

Ninety of the new medicines target cancer. Cancer is the second leading killer of all Americans, but African Americans are more likely to develop cancer than whites and are about 30 percent more likely to die of cancer than whites.

The medicines in the pipeline target cancers of the cervix, colon, esophagus, larynx, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, stomach and uterus as well as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Fifty-three potential medicines focus on respiratory diseases, including asthma, which kills African Americans at three times the rate of the majority population; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which takes more than 5,000 African American lives each year.

Thirty-five of the medicines in development are for diabetes, whose incidence in the African American community is on the rise, and 22 target HIV/AIDS.

AIDS death rates for African Americans are nearly 10 times higher than for whites, and African Americans are experiencing less dramatic decline in AIDS deaths than the majority population.

Nineteen medicines are designed to treat cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and hypertension. The death rate from cardiovascular disease for African American men is nearly 50 percent higher than for white men and 67 percent higher for African American women than for white women.

Other medicines in development tackle kidney failure, eye disorders, obesity, and sickle cell disease.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Posted: September 2002