Rep. A. Smith Op-Ed: Innovation: The Key to Fighting Infectious Diseases

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Innovation: The Key to Fighting Infectious Diseases 

By Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)

July 20, 2020

CLICK HERE to read the full op-ed.

In times of uncertainty Americans have pulled together and forged a path forward.

Now, during a worldwide health crisis, is our chance to refocus on solving our urgent health care challenges by unleashing American innovation.

Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee have introduced solutions to spur innovation and help solve this crisis as well. Recently, Ranking Member Kevin Brady has unveiled the “Faster Cures through Innovation Agenda.” Included in this package, are bills such as the Start-ups for Cures Act and the More Cures Act. These forward thinking bills which I have cosponsored would incentivize biotech companies to research and develop drugs for combating infectious diseases. To encourage more competition, the American Innovation Act would cut red tape and reduce tax burdens for startup companies which research and develop cures.

No one is quite sure when the current COVID-19 pandemic will end. In addition to the virus itself, other major unforeseen obstacles have complicated the fight against the pandemic. During a time when the world needed guidance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has played international politics by repeating falsities from the Chinese government. The lack of transparency and questionable motives have severely damaged the WHO’s credibility and I have serious concerns about rewarding them with more American tax dollars. These troubling revelations have made it clear we cannot solely rely on foreign organizations.

In addition, the virus has highlighted the urgent need to re-establish the American medical supply chain. Should another similar crisis hit, we cannot rely on foreign products alone. I appreciate President Trump’s applying of the Defense Production Act in bridging the gap for this purpose, and now it is time to go all the way. The administration has also been hard at work to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in record time alongside the capacity to quickly produce millions of doses should a vaccine be found safe and effective. While there is still work to be done, President Trump has been freeing vaccine developers to do their jobs without having to navigate burdensome and redundant regulations.

We know in addition to combating this current pandemic, we must also be looking to prepare for the next one. By spurring innovation, and re-establishing critical medical manufacturing capacity, we can drastically strengthen our medical supply chain, develop new cures, and ultimately improve the health of Americans. I am enthusiastic about this innovation package, and whole-heartily support it. There is no limit on the American spirit and overcoming challenges is our specialty. If we unleash American innovation, we can make our country – and the world – a better place.

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