Spring 2000

Fall 1999

A Message from the Dean

Cities at the Horizon
Communities at the Horizon
Eastward from Our Horizon: U.S., China & Russia
Beyond the Horizon: Innovation and Technology

ILE Lecture: Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Profile: Richard E. Rosin L'68
Profile: Pamela Daley L'79
Profile: Professor Jason Johnston
Profile: Howard Chang
Profile: Robert A. Gorman
Oral Legal History Project

Snippets of History
Symposium
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

Penn Law


Delivered on March 2, 2000
by Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Chairman & CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb
Chairman of Penn law School's Board of Overseers
Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania

Its always a pleasure for me to come home to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Im delighted so many of you have come to hear what amount to some reminiscences of a lawyer who has spent most of his career in healthcare specifically, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

I have chosen a 40-year time period for the scope of my talk because exactly four decades ago I was in my last year of studies here at Penn Law little realizing what awaited me.  To set the stage this afternoon, Id like first to describe a political and social background that will probably sound very familiar to you.

Its an election year.  A popular two-term president is winding down his term and spends a bit of his time playing golf.  His vice president is running hard to replace him, and the opposition party is fielding several candidates, including a young, attractive politician with limited experience and a famous father.  Although times are good and have been for a while there is some uneasiness across the land over several difficult social issues, including health care.

Calls go out for politicians to do something about improving access to health care, including the price of pharmaceuticals.  What gets done solves some bigproblems and creates new, even more pressing ones. Years later,few are happy with the outcome, but even fewer have creative or politically palatable solutions.

Sound familiar?  In fact, this is the United States of 1960 Ive just described to you the era of Eisenhower, Nixon and Kennedy.  Certainly on the political level, it is as Yogi Berra would say déjà vu, all over again!  If you look at the transcripts of the Kefauver hearings of 1959-60, for example, youll see many of the same charges leveled against the pharmaceutical industry that some politicians are using today.

Much certainly has changed since 1960, particularly in the areas of medicine and health care but maybe not the rhetoric.

Lets look at a few changes.  In 1960, the average life expectancy was not quite seventy years.  Today it is nearly seventy-seven years.  Infant mortality has fallen nearly seventy-five percent.  The death rate has declined eight percent.  By any measure, Americans in the year 2000 are enjoying longer, healthier lives than Americans in 1960.

While the leading causes of death have not changed much over the last forty years coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung diseases still top the list death rates for some of these have plummeted, thanks mostly to advances in therapies, particularly pharmaceuticals.

For example, between 1965 and 1996, deaths from atherosclerosis declined seventy-four percent and for ischemic heart disease, sixty-two percent. On the cancer front, the picture is mixed but still encouraging. The overall survival rate has risen from thirty-eight percent of those diagnosed in the early Sixties to over fifty percent today, and continues to increase.

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