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Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I rise to thank both the majority and minority leaders of the bill for their great effort. I am pleased to speak about a provision in the FDA Safety Innovation Act that addresses a growing public threat in Tennessee and Connecticut and across the Nation.
Several months ago, Senator Blumenthal and I introduced the GAIN Act, which is a bipartisan provision that provides a meaningful market incentive and reduces regulatory burdens to encourage development of new antibiotics that will help save lives and reduce health care costs.
Drug-resistant bacteria, or ``superbugs'' as we call them, are becoming harder to treat because we lack new antibiotics capable of combating these infections. Not only do these infections take a toll on patients and their families, but they also run up health care spending to the tune of $35 billion to $45 billion annually.
It is crucial that these new antibiotics are discovered in order to stay ahead of the growing trend of drug resistance. Drug discoveries do not happen overnight, so we must act now to ensure that we have lifesaving medications when we need them.
The GAIN Act is a straightforward, commonsense bill that provides market incentives to encourage innovation without putting Federal dollars at stake, and it is included in this FDA reauthorization. Antibiotic resistance is a growing issue that we need to address now to properly prepare for the future.
Dr. William Evans, director and CEO of St. Jude's Hospital in Tennessee, wrote a letter supporting this bill, which says:
We don't want to find ourselves in a situation in which we have been able to save a child's life after a cancer diagnosis only to lose them to an untreatable multi-drug resistant infection.
I thank Senator Blumenthal from Connecticut for his leadership on this bill. I especially thank Senators Harkin and Enzi for working with us the way they have to include this provision in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act.
I think I have stayed within my time limit.
I yield the floor.
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