While on recess, Indiana state senator Mike Braun made a stop in Tippecanoe County on Tuesday, seeking to continue conversations pertaining to lowering prescription drug costs.
Braun, a republican, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times published on March 5, offering solutions to address the rising cost of prescription drugs in the United States. In the opinion piece, Braun said the keys to fixing the issue will be adding transparency to pricing negotiations, clearing the way for more prescription drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and providing oversight and accountability for the pharmaceutical industry.
Braun has introduced several bills to fix those issues, with interest from Florida Governor Rick Scott in helping to fix prescription drug issues as well, he said.
“Many of us have just gotten there, but we are going to try to be a little more disruptive so that we are still not complaining about this same issue a year or two down the road,” Braun said.
Many generic drugs are made outside of the United States, Braun said, but any country with quality health care and approval from a governing agency producing those drugs would receive a speedier process getting those prescriptions into the U.S.
“That’s not to give up anything in terms of safety or scrutiny, but again, that process has been slow and doesn’t get back (to the U.S.,)” Braun said. “And that is why we hear of stuff being so much cheaper in other countries, and then it is difficult to import those, so you want to get those drugs back into our country through our own distribution system.”
Braun said this is something that matters to all Americans, hearing about it frequently while on the campaign trail during the 2018 election.
“The cost of health care has got to come down, or the industry is going to be dealing with one business partner: the federal government,” he said. “I’d hate to see that, because we’ll sacrifice some quality when that happens.”
State Rep. Jim Baird took time to talk with constituents on Tuesday as well, noting he was excited to be selected to serve on both the House Agriculture Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee in January.
On the heels of passing 2018 Farm Bill, Baird said now is the time to start looking at what programs are working and what areas are strong.
Baird said he is currently reintroducing the Building Blocks of STEM Act with co-author Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI). Baird said the bill would seek to to ensure that children, especially girls, are introduced to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) earlier and more effectively.
Baird said constituents in his district are behind strengthening the job market, but also are interested in legal immigration at the southern border.
“After all, we are a country of immigrants, and we ought to take pride in the things that they bring,” Baird said. “But by the same token, we have a need for labor force, not only in agriculture but in the food and beverage and hotel industry. We don’t have enough workers for some of these companies to expand like they would like to.”
Baird said extreme ideologies cause gridlock, looking particularly at immigration on the southern border, resulting in a loss for Americans as well as immigrants.
When discussing the current battle for a southern boarder wall and the national emergency declared by President Donald Trump, Baird said he doesn’t want to add confusion to the issue, but that he is in favor of building the wall, but an intelligent and intellectual discussion needs to occur.
“We recognize we have a problem on the southern border. How can you have a country when you don’t know who is coming or going,” he said. “I love people coming into this country. I just want to know who they are and make sure they are coming here legally, and those who have (immigrated) here legally feel the same way.”