Shattuck Lecture: A Better Way to Drug Development

Posted in NEJM, Uncategorized on May 6th, 2016 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on Shattuck Lecture: A Better Way to Drug Development

The pharmaceutical and biomedical research industry have had many successes over many years, curing and eradicating diseases, prolonging and enhancing life. Such success has entailed years of testing and trials and millions and even billions of dollars.


Dr. Janet Woodcock

Today, however, the development and costs of new drugs have become two of the most difficult – and sometimes controversial – topics in medicine today.  The cost of developing even a single drug can run into the billions of dollars; the cost of one life-saving therapy can erase the life savings of a patient.  Such conditions have brought the pharmaceutical industry under scrutiny and under fire.

However, even with so many triumphs, says Janet Woodcock, M.D., “the biomedical research enterprise is surprisingly ineffective at improving health and treating disease, given our level of investment in it.”

Dr. Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, shared her thoughts on drug development programs as she delivered the 2016 Shattuck Lecture, Lost in Translation: The Path from Scientific Discover to the Clinic, presented by the MMS Committee on Publications and the NEJM Group as part of the MMS annual meeting today.

She offered her perspectives – and some recommended solutions – to improve scientific discovery based on her 30 years of observing thousands of attempted drug development programs, both commercial and academic, while at the FDA.

Dr. Woodcock was clear and direct in her analysis: “Multiple systemic flaws impede generational knowledge,” she stated. “Medicine must take back ownership of clinical evidence development.”

The shortcomings in the system, she says, are the result of three problems in biomedical research: a lack of reliable basic scientific information to support development program; the absence of a robust translational infrastructure to develop and assess tools and drug candidates; and the inability of clinical medicine to create effective systems to generate evidence.

Despite the flaws, Dr. Woodcock believes opportunity for change and improvement exists.  “The system we have successfully operated for many years is under severe stress,” she declares, “and transformative change is needed.  New structures and technologies will provide opportunities.”

“Transformation of clinical research would be challenging with many obstacles,” she notes, “but the payoff might be worth it.” Among the benefits would be rapid and efficient generation of clinical evidence, patients as active participants in the clinical research enterprise, the integration of research into healthcare, and more effective and clinically relevant evaluations of new products and other interventions.

For more observations from Dr. Woodcock and a sampling of her recommendations for a better way forward, view her presentation here.



Delayed Opening for MMS and NEJM Offices

Posted in MMS Building Information, NEJM on January 22nd, 2014 by MMS – Comments Off on Delayed Opening for MMS and NEJM Offices

Due to today’s weather conditions, the Waltham offices of the MMS will open today at 10:00 a.m. The New England Journal of Medicine offices in Boston will open at 11:00 a.m.

October Physician Focus: 100th Show, Medicine’s Greatest Achievements, Features NEJM Editors

Posted in Medicine, NEJM, Physician Focus, Uncategorized on October 1st, 2012 by MMS Communications – Comments Off on October Physician Focus: 100th Show, Medicine’s Greatest Achievements, Features NEJM Editors

The October edition of Physician Focus marks the 100th production of cthe program and steps back from the show’s usual fare of medical conditions to examine some of medicine’s greatest accomplishments and what they mean for patients today. The milestone show also takes occasion to pay tribute to the New England Journal of Medicine, as it celebrates its 200th year of publication this year.

Medicine’s Greatest Achievements features two distinguished NEJM editors: Jeffrey Drazen, M.D., Editor-in-Chief (photo, right), and Julie Ingelfinger, M.D., Deputy Editor (center). Hosting the program is primary care physician Bruce Karlin, M.D. (left)

The physicians discuss such landmark developments as the stethoscope, anesthesia, aseptic surgery, antibiotics, and vaccines and how these have improved the lives of millions of people around the world. Also in the conversation: the early days of the New England Journal of Medicine and its importance today in communicating medical knowledge to health care professionals throughout the world.

Physician Focus is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts. To view online, visit The program is also available on iTunes at




NEJM Editor Discusses the Journal’s Activities on its 200th Anniversary

Posted in Annual Meeting 2012, NEJM on May 17th, 2012 by MMS – Comments Off on NEJM Editor Discusses the Journal’s Activities on its 200th Anniversary

New England Journal of Medicine Editor Jeffrey M. Drazen, MD, provided an overview of the Journal’s activities for the past year, and highlighted several of the activities commemoriating the Journal’s 200th anniversary.

Dr. Drazen’s remarks came at the opening session of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s annual meeting.