April 9, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it all too clear that the American healthcare system frequently falls short in meeting patients’ needs, with bureaucratic delays and government overcaution standing in the way of administering fast, high-quality, innovative care. But there are opportunities for needed reform—if we choose to take them.
Recently, the Goldwater Institute released a transformational blueprint to put patients at the center of their care, outlining an actionable plan for reforming the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that patients receive the rapid, informed care they need. And this week, Goldwater Institute Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur and Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez discussed Goldwater’s blueprint and the work the Institute is doing to make these recommendations into reality.
With the arrival of COVID-19 on our shores last year, the scientific community mobilized quickly to develop treatments, culminating in the arrival of several vaccines. Yet in the U.S., government kept innovations from getting to Americans as quickly as they could—and should—have. “This pandemic has really opened our eyes to the fact that our healthcare system is plagued by bureaucratic inertia,” Sandefur explained during the webinar. “At the FDA, the default has become regulation, not innovation. Unfortunately, this is at a time when it’s become very clear that we need regulations to keep pace with the unbelievable healthcare innovations.” As Lopez put it, there’s a “regulatory mismatch” between “scientific advances and the decades-old regulatory system.”
But government shouldn’t be a roadblock to harnessing scientific breakthroughs. As Goldwater’s blueprint makes clear, there are opportunities to cut government red tape and help patients. For example, expanding Goldwater’s Right to Try law could help Americans access personalized treatments that use information about their own genes and particular conditions. And allowing drug manufacturers to share truthful information about “off-label” treatments with doctors would ensure that doctors know more about the options they have to care for patients. These types of reforms are designed to give patients and doctors more say in developing a course of treatment—without having to seek unneeded permission from the government.
The Goldwater Institute is a national leader in building a more patient-centric healthcare system. Goldwater’s Right to Try law, which upholds the principle that you—not the government—have the right to decide to pursue potentially lifesaving medical treatments, was signed into federal law in 2018, ensuring that the government does not get a veto stamp over an innovative treatment when it is available and recommended by your doctor. Now, the reforms laid out in our new blueprint will help us get even closer to putting Americans at the center of their own care.
You can watch the full webinar above.