These actions not only ignore the issues we should be focused on but also the importance of investing in strategic relationships with key industries like textile manufacturers here in Georgia to make personal protective equipment or drug manufacturers making new drugs to continue their efforts against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
I steadfastly believe that changes are needed to help make drug costs more affordable for seniors, but they are not mutually exclusive with the U.S. response to COVID-19 and future pandemics. Thankfully such reforms exist. but they are not a priority of this administration. Our nation must set its sights higher. A smart, forward-thinking strategy is required that identifies critical preparedness priorities like new drug development and invests in them wisely to ensure a positive return for taxpayers. Rather than making it harder to work with the United States, improving our strategic partnerships with key industries is vital for our success.
One top priority should be to prevent the loss of antibiotics used to treat infections in patients. Legislation I developed alongside Senators Michael Bennet, and Todd Young, and Representative Mike Doyle, the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act, would achieve this goal by establishing a federal investment strategy to encourage the development of new and innovative antibiotics while ensuring a tangible return on that investment for taxpayers.
We also need the life-sciences sector to develop new cures and treatments for diseases like cancer, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease with the same urgency as COVID-19. Modern innovation affords us exciting opportunities to better address underlying conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which disproportionately affects people of color and have worsened the impact of this pandemic on these communities.
Without question, it will take the full force of medical science to address COVID-19 and other diseases of the future. The drug-pricing proposal in the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan, however, would set back medical science and drug development just when we’re poised for more life-saving breakthroughs. It would be a shame for some in Congress to squander this opportunity for us all.
All too often in D.C., old dogs won’t learn new tricks. It’s time for Congress and the executive branch to be more thoughtful in defining the current problem, the root causes of those issues, and develop modern solutions and processes that are forward thinking. These current proposals aren’t forward thinking; rather, they are punitive in nature. Punitive measures may change behavior, but they will greatly restrict innovation and our fight against pandemics in the long run.
U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, represents Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.