Baltimore Sun

Is medical innovation the way to save the economy?

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt was in town today to push a movement underway to increase medical research.

Gephardt and others believe that pumping more dollars into finding cures for diseases and creating new drugs could provide a much needed engine to boost the economy and job growth.

Gephardt is chairman of the Council for American Medical Innovation, a group that is pushing for changes in federal policy that would encourage more medical research.


My colleague, political reporter Annie Linskey, also found that Gephardt's lobbying for the group is funded in part by Pharma, the group that represents drug companies.

Healthcare makes up about 17 percent of the country's GDP today and is expected to make up as much as 25 percent in coming years, Gephardt told a group of business leaders gathered at the World Trade Center in downtown Baltimore.


The former Congressman was joined by Gov. Martin O'Malley who talked about how Maryland is already ahead of the game with its robust bioscience industry, much of it headquartered in Montgomery County. There was no mention of creating new state policies to further the industry.

The two politicians were also joined by Fred Mason, president of the Maryland AFL-CIO, who said he believes medical innovation would create stable jobs.

Gephardt proposes several ways to encourage medical innovation including:

1. Creating public/private partnerships to better the chances of bringing research to market

2. Increasing and making permanent the research and development tax credit

3. Overhauling the FDA regulatory process

4. Improving bioscience education at the primary and secondary school level

Click here to hear part of Gephardt's presentation and here for O'Malley.