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From where John Castellani sits as head of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the largest trade organization for the bio-pharmaceutical industry, the development of new medicines continues to occur in spite of huge risks and great expense.

What the industry doesn't need are federal policies that make it tougher to compete, profit and innovate, Castellani said during a healthcare symposium hosted by the Blanche and Irwin Lerner Center for the Study of Pharmaceutical Management Issues at Rutgers Business School.

"Unfortunately, in the current fiscal environment, too many policymakers view medicines through a narrow lens that sees only costs," he said. "They appear willing to sacrifice continued and future health progress on the altar of immediate political and fiscal needs."

The healthcare symposium, which the Lerner Center has hosted for nearly a decade, attracted more than 100 people on April 30, including MBA students, Rutgers Business School administrators and employees from drug giants, Celgene, Merck, Johnson & Johnson as well as Ohm Laboratories, the generic drug maker.

While Castellani spoke about some of the industry's toughest challenges, other speakers talked about major trends, the challenge of making clinical trials more cost effective and regulatory initiatives intended to shorten the development process of breakthrough medicines.

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