Goldwater Responds to the Coronavirus Crisis
Goldwater Responds to the Coronavirus Crisis
Washington is already relying on the Goldwater Institute’s years-long work to remove regulatory barriers so Americans can get the right medical treatment at the right time to combat this pandemic. We are continuing our work to help America find a treatment—and hopefully a cure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) bureaucratic drug approval process frequently hinders patients from accessing potentially lifesaving vaccines and treatments. The Goldwater Institute’s Right to Try law, which was adopted in 41 states and at the federal level, has been central to opening the door for critical innovations in treatment that Americans need in today’s crisis.
“Right to Try has been a tremendous success. People are living now who had no chance of living,” President Donald Trump said at a recent coronavirus task force briefing. He explained that the policy has provided hope and breakthrough treatment options for patients who would have run out of time before the treatment obtained final FDA approval years later.
Now, Americans are facing a disease that has no known cure. And incredibly, governors and some in the healthcare establishment are standing between patients and a possible treatment. But thanks to Goldwater’s advocacy and its Right to Try law, the FDA has a new mandate to meet the immediate needs of patients facing life-threatening illness. The Goldwater Institute is taking Right to Try to the next level by fighting to extend it to personalized treatments that are custom-designed for an individual patient.
Our original strategy for Right to Try required a state-by-state campaign over four years to overcome opposition from the FDA. But the coronavirus pandemic has elevated the urgency for broader reform. We have the opportunity to leverage public pressure into federal and state action over months instead of years. However, a new strategy requires rapid policy and legal research to support swift deployment of public education and messaging.
We are continuing to ramp our work in immediate response to the coronavirus crisis, transform the FDA’s drug approval process, fight for patients, and ensure doctors have the best information to treat patients by removing restrictions on off-label communications.
The Goldwater Institute is crafting cutting-edge reforms to ensure that Americans have access to the world’s most innovative treatments, some of which are increasingly found in other countries. That’s why we worked with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in creating the RESULTS Act and modified it to address the current crisis. It’s based on the idea that there should be an efficient pathway for harnessing the important scientific work that has already been undertaken in other countries that also have rigorous, scientific drug evaluation approval processes on behalf of patients.
As the U.S. looks to possible effective options to treat COVID-19, it is important that medical professionals know and understand the arsenal of options at their disposal. Unfortunately, federal laws sometimes prevent drug manufacturers from sharing important information about off-label uses, and violating those rules can result in criminal prosecution and penalties. Of course, the ability to share truthful, scientific, and up-to-date information about off-label treatments is critical to ensuring doctors can provide the best treatments for their patients, especially when lives are at stake.
The Goldwater Institute’s Truth in Medicine Act protects the dissemination of truthful, cutting-edge information about off-label uses of FDA-approved drugs. Two states have already passed our law, and more are expected to follow.
The nation’s hospitals have become ground zero in the coronavirus crisis, absorbing the massive responsibility of treatment and containment. As we’re seeing in New York City and increasingly in other locations across the country, hospitals don’t have the capacity to handle the massive number of patients who are flooding their doors.
Unfortunately, the availability of hospital beds in 38 states is limited by arcane laws called “certificate of need.” Rather than allowing a hospital to be built, adding beds to an existing hospital, or offering new technologies, many states require that these additions be approved by a board of existing competitors with every incentive to restrict new competition from opening or expanding.
The Goldwater Institute is at the forefront of advocating for the repeal of certificate of need laws. We have conducted critical policy and legal research, launched a communications strategy, and pursued litigation. Now, we aim to scale up our efforts as the public gains a better understanding of the immediate need to remove government barriers that stop the construction of more healthcare facilities.
The Goldwater Institute has worked in capitols across the country to promote policies that are based on an important principle: Rather than limit patient access and choice, lawmakers should protect and empower healthcare innovators, especially when they offer consumers an affordable option to access timely care.
That’s why we have strongly advocated for policies like telemedicine, which is being relied upon in the coronavirus crisis to conduct initial screens of patients, treat patients with minor ailments who might otherwise be forced to break home quarantine, and monitor sick patients remotely. We’re also supporting efforts to recognize the licenses of medical professionals across state lines, which is critically important as American cities confront shortages of doctors and nurses at the height of the coronavirus epidemic.
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