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.
An analysis and related commentary published in Clinical Infectious Diseases today provide in-depth examination of the deplorable and dangerous conditions in U.S. immigrant detention centers where seven children have died in the last 10 months. Together, the articles underscore an urgent imperative repeatedly cited by ours, and other societies of medical professionals, to investigate and remedy violations of human rights and the most basic standards of public health, infection control and medical practice that have been demonstrated in these facilities.
The continued steep increase in incidence of sexually transmitted diseases reported in the 2018 data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday, is a cause for deep concern about dangerous gaps in our public health infrastructure.
The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Related Programs Appropriations subcommittee’s allocations of funding for the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative in its proposed budget for 2020 represent a significant step toward an ambitious, critical, and achievable goal; however, lack of new resources to confront increasing rates of hepatitis C and sexually transmitted diseases with insufficient support for addressing opioid-related infectious diseases, falls far short of the response to these concurrent epidemics that is needed.