ICYMI: Fred Upton’s 21st Century Cures Act a big win for job growth
When speaking about his 21st Century Cures Act, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, was not only excited about the future of research and medical devices, but the jobs that would come with them.
"For Southwest Michigan, the pharmaceutical industry is pretty big," Upton said. "My largest employers are Pfizer, Stryker (Medical). If you see a yellow stretcher in an ambulance, that was made (by Stryker)."
Upton has no concerns about the status of his Cures Act, or jobs in general, under a President Donald Trump Administration, saying "we have it locked down." He highlighted a shift at Stryker specifically over the past several years.
"Six years ago or so I was walking through a new Stryker facility in Portage. I don't know how many hundreds of thousand of square feet it was, massive facility," Upton said. "I was walking through with the then-chairman, Steve MacMillan. This is his first time in the building. I said 'Steve what do you think? Brand new sparkling facility.'"
MacMillan's response? According to Upton, the former Stryker executive wondered out loud if they should have built the new facility in China.
But in that time, Stryker has not only remained open in America, but has thrived.
"Two weeks ago I talked to the new chairman, Kevin Lobo," Upton said. "They were going to announce a $110 million expansion in Portage, lots of new jobs."
During the three-year fight for the 21st Century Cures Act, Upton and his colleagues realized that the research industry was moving overseas because the approval time for drugs and devices was much faster than in the United States, by a "50 percent margin," according to the congressman.
"This (law) is going to change that by expediting the approvals, and that's a really good thing for patients because we're gonna find those answers to cancer, lupus, alzheimer's," he said. "But we know when those approvals are in the United States, that's where those product are made.
"This is gonna be a pretty huge jobs bill. I'm excited about that."