FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Legislation to promote cures for serious diseases was the topic of a press conference on Tuesday.
House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, is the sponsor of the cure bill, which he said incentivizes drug companies to conduct clinical trial and bring the cures to the market.
“We often hear stories that there are cures out there for major chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer,” he said. “In those stories we hear companies with those cures can’t or won’t bring them to market because it is too costly to finalize clinical trials, or there are no incentives or the drug companies are keeping those cures from being produced our of fear of losing profits on maintenance drugs.”
Meade said he can’t verify that any of those stories are true, but if they are, an incentive plan is needed to help bring these cures to the market, which is where the cure bill comes in.
“The bill sets up a multi-state compact to offer prizes for curing major diseases equal to five years of taxpayer savings,” Meade stated. “For something like Alzheimer’s, if 10 states were to join the compact, it would be over $10 billion.
“The bill requires virtually no funding, because the money for the prizes is generated by the savings as a result of that cure.”
Ohio has become the first state to form such a compact, he said, and the compact would be binding once two states come aboard. “When it reaches six states, a commission would be created to establish criteria for qualifying diseases, which must include at least 10 major diseases.”
Sen Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, who is also a physician, is sponsoring a similar bill in his chamber.
“Spending on healthcare has reached an all-time high, technology has advanced exponentially, yet the last time we cured a major disease was back in 1955,” he said. “Companies make billions by discovering treatments, and not cures. Treatments can last years, up to the lifetime of the patient, and that results in high profitability,” Alvarado said.
“If there is no cure, taxpayers pay nothing. The more states and governments that the compact, the greater the prize will be,” he said. “At worst, we’ll see huge economic activity as companies work and invest in developing a cure, with no cost to taxpayers.”