I am a caregiver/ healthcare professional, and my patients are older Washingtonians who are in the high-risk category for COVID-19. I take a lot of precautions to ensure my patients are safe and receive the best care possible. Working in the midst of a pandemic has been challenging and I look forward to the day when COVID-19 is no longer a threat. However, that will not happen until we have a vaccine.
I am frustrated with our elected leaders’ inability to agree on healthcare policies and how this negatively impacts the American biopharmaceutical industry and in turn affects all our lives in profound ways. First, as I have mentioned, my patients and many immunocompromised American’s lives depend on finding a COVID 19 vaccine. Second, we are not going to be able to fully open our economy until we find a vaccine. Furthermore, our elected leaders correctly talk about reducing the cost of prescription drugs but Congress can’t agree on solutions and the White House’s most favored nations (MFN) order executive – done in the name of lower drug prices – causes more problems than it solves. Specifically, I am concerned that MFN will reduce access to certain innovative treatments and could reduce the amount of funding to be invested in research on COVID 19 medicines and other important innovative cures.
It is critical that we come together as a nation to do a better job in a unified effort to maximize our resources in intellectual, political and financial capital to get a vaccine to the public as soon as possible. We are in the midst of a national and global crisis. The White House and Congress must find a way to work in concert to support the American biopharmaceutical industry. The industry scientists and researchers are hard at work so that we don’t have to live in fear. I realize this will likely not happen until after the election, but our leaders need to do a much better job of supporting these efforts. Instead all I have seen is the creation of more obstacles that could impede the progress toward a vaccine and other COVID 19 therapies. As we have witnessed, Congress can’t agree on anything right now and what the White House is doing with the most favored nation executive order does not solve anything. MFN implements government price setting and alters portions of Medicare. It is disappointing to see the administration try and make such changes to our health care system in the middle of a pandemic.
It is paramount that our elected leaders support the efforts of scientists and American biopharmaceutical companies. What my clients, and all Americans, need is a vaccine and treatments for COVID 19 and smart policies that will help address the cost of prescription drugs. The only policy we have seen recently is the most favored nation executive order which does a poor job of addressing these issues and should not be implemented.
Laura Stump is a caregiver and healthcare professional from Lakewood, Washington.