And now we wait. The arguments are over, and we wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will stand, fall, or hover somewhere in between.

However one feels about the much-maligned individual mandate, I can’t help hoping that we hold onto one aspect: the emerging stress on healthcare outcomes over services, the emphasis of health over materials.

Talking about healthcare’s priorities in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act arguments, Mayo Clinic Health System’s CEO, Dr. Robert Nesse, recently wrote, “To address the … problem of new health care models what we need to do is choose to work on one aspect of the entire problem that seems to have the best potential for improvement…. For the next few years, my choice for that one aspect to work on is to become competent in accountable care delivered through integrated physician group practice, and seek to be competitively relevant in a system that will reward outcomes and total cost of care.”

This is the right course, and pharma has a clear role. Over the past few years, more and more industry leaders have used our pages to promote the benefits—to the manufacturer as well as the patient—of demonstrable outcomes and collaborative care. Indeed, several articles in this issue take up that theme. Good outcomes research certainly does impose a burden, but the payoff outweighs the cost: treating the right patient at the right time with the right therapy will both cut costs and reward the pharmaceutical companies with the imagination and insight to understand their technologies and their markets better than anyone else.

Our industry hates uncertainty, and this is an uncertain time. As we wait to find out what shape healthcare economics will take in the coming years—whether we will face new upheaval or the same old upheaval—we cannot afford to abandon what we have so painstakingly learned about outcomes and integration.

Anna Stashower
CEO and Publisher

P.S. We’re also waiting to find out who will earn Trailblazer honors this coming September. There’s still time to win your place in the spotlight. Go to www.pm360trailblazerawards.com and enter yourself or a colleague.

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