WSW: Upton Says New Law Means Faster Cures

Dec 19, 2016

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (right) looks on President Obama signs the 21st Century Cures Act into law
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais, The Associated Press / AP

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton says the 21st Century Cures Act means “we will find cures for these diseases…years before we otherwise would have.”


Upton was the lead sponsor of the bill that was signed into law last week by President Obama. The Saint Joseph Republican says it accelerates approval of drugs and devices that can lead to cures for diseases like cancer. Upton sat down with WMUK’s Gordon Evans to discuss the Cures Act and other issues.

21st Century Cures Act

Some patient advocacy groups have raised concerns about drugs reaching the market too quickly, compromising safety. But Upton says lawmakers consulted with experts from the Food and Drug Administration past and present to find faster cures with safety and keep standards in place. Upton says the FDA has been losing good people, who have been hired away by drug companies. He says the Cures Legislation gives the FDA more resources to hire more people and pay them more.

Palisades

Entergy’s announcement that it will close the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven in 2018 has been met with criticism from some elected officials. Upton says he supports “safe nuclear power.” But he says all nuclear power plants have a limited life. Upton says nuclear power plants “have to be operated in a safe manner and they need to be beyond political interference.” 

"They have to be operated in a safe manner and they need to be beyond political interference."

Upton says the plant’s owner Entergy determined that added investment to keep Palisades running was not going to be economically viable. Upton says there will be a huge economic impact in Southwest Michigan. But the Congressman says he’s not sure if there is a role for the federal government to help the 600 workers at Palisades.

Taxes and Spending

President-elect Donald Trump has proposed spending more on infrastructure while cutting taxes. Upton says infrastructure is crucial, but he says it’s important to see the details of any spending plan.

In the web version of the interview, Upton also discusses reports of the Russian government’s efforts to influence the U.S. Presidential election and going back to work in Congress and no longer serving as Chairman of the House and Energy and Commerce Committee.