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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ronald Reagan & the Orphan Drug Act

Ronald Reagan & the Orphan Drug Act

Ronald Reagan was amazing for many reasons. Reaganomics ushered in the longest economic boom in history. The Reagan Doctrine defeated the Soviet Union without firing a shot. And Ronald Reagan was a great model of humility, charity, and leadership for the young people of our nation.

Just recently I learned about something else Ronald Reagan did for our nation. It really touched me because it directly helped my dear wife, Kathi, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

When my wife was diagnosed with MS about ten years ago, one drug, Betaseron, had recently come on the market. After that, other drugs quickly became available including Avonex and Copaxone, then Rebif and Tysabri. I always wondered why it took so long for the first drug to come on the market and then why others followed so quickly.

Without these drugs, thousands of those diagnosed with MS would be severely disabled, mentally, physically or both. In fact, until these drugs were introduced, 50% of all patients diagnosed with relapsing and remitting MS eventually had secondary progressive MS, the kind that severely disables those who have this disease.

In reading the Wall Street Journal of Monday, June 23, 2008, I came across an article that explained why these critical drugs finally came on the market. An opinion column by Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonald’s, revealed the reason:
"The Orphan Drug Act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, made it possible for companies to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of potential treatments for rare diseases. A rare, or orphan, disease is defined as one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. By offering tax incentives for clinical trials of these treatments and granting seven years of patent exclusivity once the drug is approved—compared to an average of five years with most new drugs—the Orphan Drug Act gave hope to collective millions of Americans living with these horrible diseases."

This is the 25th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan signing the Orphan Drug Act and all I have to say is, "Thank you Ronald Reagan." Without this act my wife might be in a wheelchair or otherwise seriously disabled.

What a contrast to Hillary Clinton who demagogues against drug companies and has even complained that a pill only costs $.25 to produce. Of course, she forgets that it takes billions of dollars in research to create such miracle drugs.

Didn’t she or Obama ever notice that socialist countries build cars like Trabants and live in misery, while capitalist nations live in prosperity? Didn’t they ever notice that not one new drug is ever brought to the market from nations where drug companies are not free to research, create, and make a profit?

Once again, let’s hear a big round of applause for one of the greatest presidents in the history of our RepublicRonald Reagan!

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