For years, The Heartland Institute has advocated for greater freedom and consumer choice in health care. New polling shows Americans overwhelmingly support these common-sense reforms as well.
Ninety-three percent of voters say they support reforms to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would make “prescription drugs better, available sooner, and at a lower cost.” Similarly, 95 percent of voters believe patients and doctors—not Washington, DC bureaucrats, politicians, or pharmaceutical or insurance company executives—should be “most responsible for making decisions regarding medical treatments and care.”
Conducted by Victory Enterprises in February 2019, the poll surveyed 500 registered voters about health care policy, which a plurality of voters (19.4 percent) identified as the most important policy issue.
To date, the Trump administration (with help from Heartland) has initiated several health care reforms, which Americans widely support.
In 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb approved a record number of new drugs, devices, and generics. Policies that expedite the approval process are expected to continue post-Gottlieb.
Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D., applauded the FDA for its accelerated approval of life-saving medicines in a press release. “At the direction of President Trump, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb performed a superb job leading an often slow-moving bureaucracy to approve a record-breaking number of generic drugs over the last year,” said Huelskamp.
In May 2018, Trump signed into law the Right to Try Act (RTT), bipartisan legislation that allows terminally ill patients who have exhausted FDA-approved treatment options to try drugs still undergoing FDA clinical trials. Huelskamp was present at the signing ceremony because of Heartland’s key role in pushing RTT.
Although RTT is a step in the right direction, far too many patients with serious conditions are still not able to access potentially life-saving treatments because of bureaucratic red tape and outdated laws.
As a solution, Heartland advocates Free to Choose Medicine (FTCM), which would create a pathway for all Americans to access affordable medicines. FTCM would extend the benefits of RTT to all patients, not just those with life-threating illnesses. Further, it would allow companies to seek “Observational Approval” from FDA to quickly bring new medicines to market.
FTCM would increase competition in the health care market, resulting in greater access to high-quality, lower-cost drugs. Most importantly, FTCM would give patients more freedom and renewed hope.