A nationally recognized
health expert warned Tuesday that efforts
by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and other
politicians to nullify patent rights on
the anthrax medication Ciprofloxacin could
ultimately cost the U.S. a crucial edge in
the war on bioterrorism.
"We are not going to win the war
against bioterrorism by grinding out more
Cipro pills," said Dr. Betsy
McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of
New York and now a Health Policy Fellow
with the Hudson Institute, in an interview
with Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.
"In order to win this war we are
going to have to outsmart the terrorists
in the laboratory. We will have to develop
more effective drugs, more effective
medical devices," McCaughey said.
"That's why Chuck Schumer's
proposal was so dangerous.
"By removing the patent protection
from [Cipro manufacturer] Bayer, what he's
really saying is that drug companies and
medical device companies [should] work
full time deveoping products for an
emergency [but] when the emergengy occurs,
they won't get paid for them,"
In 1994, the health policy expert
skyrocketed to national prominence when
she dissected Hillary Clinton's 1,500-page
health care reform in an article for The
New Republic. Her analysis provided
Republicans with the rhetorical ammunition
they needed to defeat the Clinton proposal
and ultimately won McCaughey the
lieutentant governor's spot.
Turning her sights on Sen. Schumer,
McCaughey said his plan to remove patent
protection would destroy any incentive for
drug companies to continue research on
life-saving medications that could mean
the difference between victory and defeat
in the war on bioterrorism.
"There are marvelous things being
developed, including a dialysis machine
that would be able to cleanse the blood of
toxins so people won't have to be on
medication," McCaughey contended.
Scientists are also working on a drug
that will destroy all bacteria, she said.
"Our lives will depend on the
speed and effectiveness of that research
and development," McCaughey warned.