WWMT Newschannel 3 - Search Results
House passes Upton's meningitis bill
WASHINGTON (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The U.S. House was able to come to at least one bipartisan agreement Saturday.
Members of Congress passed a bill aimed at preventing future nationwide health crises, such as the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak last year.
The bill was introduced Friday by Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph). He explains the bill to Newschannel 3 and talks about why he thinks Congress still works.
"[I] worked very closely with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to craft this bill that would have stopped this awful thing that happened a year ago," Upton said on the House floor Saturday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it hit Michigan hardest, with more than 260 infected, originating inside a compounding facility in Massachusetts.
"The FDA, in essence, said, 'No foul. We didn't think we had the authority to step in,' and in fact they now have the authority to use it," Upton tells Newschannel 3.
The deadly fungal meningitis inflames the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Three of the 19 people who died in Michigan were from Upton's district.
"When it hits home like this, some elderly folks and others who thought they were on the way to getting well with an injection and they crumple and die, needlessly, it's really, really sad," Upton says. "It reflects the hard work of our committee in a bipartisan basis. I would urge the Senate to take it up in the next day or two so we can get, in fact, get it to the president's desk."
Upton says the House will be in session through the weekend, and he's hopeful Washington will work just as quickly to prevent a government shutdown looming on Tuesday, "which really hurts lots of people from military families, many or most families that live paycheck to paycheck," Upton says. "So whether it's a car payment of a mortgage payment or whatever it is, we don't need to go through this. We need to get our work done."
The bill also helps strengthen the ability for the government to go after counterfeit drugs, something Upton says he got major support from leaders at Perrigo, one of the largest employers in Allegan County.