Over the past fifty years, the American system of medical innovation has transformed the health of literally billions of people around the world. It didn’t just appear overnight as if by magic – it is the end result of generations of huge taxpayer investments in the National Institutes of Health.
But in recent years, the great American engine of medical innovation is in trouble. Critical federal investments in medical research have been flat for more than a decade. Today we are choking off support for projects that could lead to the next major breakthrough against cancer, heart disease, Ebola, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, or other deadly conditions. We’re starving projects that could transform the lives of our children on the autism spectrum. We’re suffocating breakthrough ideas that would give new hope to those with ALS.
At the same time, there has also been a worrisome increase in the number of major drug companies that have been caught breaking the law. Repeated instances of major drug companies defrauding Medicare and Medicaid, withholding critical safety information, marketing drugs for uses they aren’t approved for, illegally incentivizing doctors to prescribe drugs, and other serious violations have come to light.
Between these two problems – shrinking government support for research and increased rule-breaking by companies that have blockbuster drugs – lies a solution: requiring those big-time drug companies that break the law to put more money into funding medical research.
The Medical Innovation Act requires that whenever giant drug companies enter into a settlement agreement with the government to avoid trials for breaking the law and defrauding taxpayers, they must pay a small portion of their annual profits over five years to reinvest in the next generation of life-saving research at the NIH and FDA.
This isn’t a tax. It’s a swear jar – but it’s also a simple form of accountability. And if this policy had been in place, over the past five years, NIH would have had about six billion more dollars every year to fund thousands of new grants to scientists and universities and research centers around the country. That’s nearly a 20% increase in NIH funding.
The Medical Innovation Act is a major move toward substantially increasing federal support for medical research that doesn’t increase the deficit or cut other critical programs. Sign up now to show your support.
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