This new drug law will save money and patients' lives

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I agree with one aspect of Linda Santaguido's opinion ("Another GOP Stunt," July 19). Indeed we must channel our energies into improving our nation's health care system. I've been working on reforms rooted in quality and affordability of care, especially when it comes to premiums, co-pays and prescription drugs.

I authored legislation called the Generic Drug and Biosimilar User Fee Act (H.R. 3988), which was just signed into law by President Barack Obama, to further advance access to generic medications. In addition to putting foreign factories under the same rigorous inspection regime as U.S plants, my bill establishes the first-ever generic drug user fee program so the drug companies (not taxpayers or consumers) bear the $300 million annual cost of application review and foreign factory inspections.

Life-saving drugs can't help patients if an astronomical price tag puts them out of reach. With my bill, the Food and Drug Administration has a financing mechanism and a system in place to inspect all overseas factories and bring the 2,800 generics awaiting approval safely to market. In an increasingly expensive and complex health care system, it's a critical step forward in lowering pharmacy bills while ensuring affordable prescription medications are safe.

Best of all, Republicans and Democrats joined together in passing this legislation. With our shared goal of saving money and saving lives, we were able to enact meaningful health care reform, further demonstrating that when Congress works together for the good of the American people, there is nothing we can't accomplish.

Upper St. Clair
The writer is a Republican representing the 18th Congressional District.



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