Newswise — 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.

Reducing the costs of effective medicines that treat HIV and cure hepatitis C, also preventing transmission of both infections, provisions in the bill will improve access to these medicines for people who need them, and help the United States to end both epidemics.

Equally critical to public health, H.R. 3 invests more than one billion dollars of new resources for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to support research on antibiotic resistance, stewardship, and the commercialization of new antibiotics at a pivotal time. Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November indicates that at least 2.8 million people in the United States are sickened by antibiotic-resistant infections each year and that 35,000 people in this country die as a result. At the same time, while large company investments in antibiotic research and development diminish, small companies responsible for discovering and developing these needed new medicines struggle to stay in business, The new investments provided in H.R. 3 will be crucial to the sustainability of the antibiotics market, while the funding the legislation directs to stewardship will support efforts to protect the effectiveness of existing antibiotics by supporting strengthened stewardship of the medicines in all health care facilities. 

As organizations representing more than 12,000 infectious diseases and HIV physicians, scientists, public health practitioners and other healthcare providers, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association strongly support H.R. 3. We will continue working toward final legislation that improves affordability and access to needed medicines while providing needed investments to combat antibiotic resistance and support new antibiotic development.