Tester backs effort improving access to prescription drugs

Bipartisan bill addresses drug shortages, speeds up drug research

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is working to make affordable prescription drugs more accessible for Montanans.

The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act includes a Tester provision to encourage development of new drugs that treat rare and highly resistant infectious diseases. Tester’s provision extends patents for drug makers and streamlines the approval process.

Tester’s provision, known as the GAIN Act, would benefit companies such as Microbion Corporation – a Bozeman-based pharmaceutical company that specializes in developing innovative drug treatments.

“We applaud the key strategic benefits the GAIN Act provides to patients suffering from antibiotic resistant infections,” said Dr. Brett Baker, President and CEO of Microbion Corporation. “We are extremely grateful to Senator Tester for co-sponsoring this critical new legislation, because these changes help us as we develop new treatments to effectively combat life-threatening antibiotic resistant infections.”

The bill also extends existing agreements between pharmaceutical companies and the FDA to speed-up drug approvals and improve the safety of medicine and medical devices. Because the bill will allow new drugs into the marketplace faster and reduces the costs of generic drugs, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will save taxpayers $360 million over the next decade.

“This bill ensures that the supply of prescription drugs on the market meets the demand of America’s families,” Tester said. “Montana consumers deserve to know that their access to doctor-prescribed drugs is safe and that their pocketbooks won’t be squeezed.”

The bill also encourages government and private companies to work together to quickly develop and approve treatments for chronic illnesses, like Alzheimer’s disease.

The bill passed the Senate today by a vote of 96-1 and now awaits a vote in the House of Representatives.

The bipartisan FDA Safety and Innovation Act is available online HERE.