The spending bill passed today is a welcome step forward. Allocations in the bill will strengthen public health and research efforts during the year ahead and will provide critical support for important goals. At the same time, the legislation in its final form also brings inadequate responses to current and urgent challenges with the potential for long-term and costly consequences.
H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act passed by the House of Representatives today introduces critically needed and significant steps to reduce costs and improve access to life-saving therapies for conditions including HIV and hepatitis C. Importantly, the legislation also brings essential resources to combat antibiotic resistance, find and develop new infection fighting drugs and bring them to market. The balanced approach of this legislation will serve patients and public health.
In mid-August 2019, human clinical trials were halted in the current Ebola epidemic that has claimed more than 2,100 lives in Africa. The findings resulted in the discontinuation of two of the drugs in the trial. Future patients will be randomly assigned to receive either REGN-EB3 (Regeneron) or mAb114 (Ridgeback Biotherapeutics) in an extension phase of the study. Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists in the Institute’s Biosafety Level 4 contract research program conducted preclinical testing of several of the compounds in the trial, working with Regeneron and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).