U.S. Chamber Letter to the Vice President on Best Path to Innovative COVID-19 Solutions

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 5:45pm

The Honorable Michael R. Pence
Vice President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Vice President Pence:

Thank you for your leadership in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The business community have heard their marching orders—innovate and deliver—and they are responding.

Private sector firms are producing and distributing medical equipment and supplies to assist patients and health care workers and secure the livelihoods of their families and neighbors. They are developing new drug treatments to cure the coronavirus and vaccines to prevent future pandemics from taking hold. This scale of private sector mobilization is unprecedented in peace-time, and the ongoing public-private partnership is critical to delivering solutions quickly and efficiently.

As we press forward on a wide range of fronts, it will be critical that we continue to work together to streamline supply chains, remove unnecessary regulatory hurdles, and avoid unforced errors by global governments, such as reflexive resort to export bans (see here), compulsory licensing, and other disruptive measures that sow confusion and slow progress. Our attached recommendations propose a roadmap for effective deployment of innovative solutions.

America’s capacity to innovate is unrivaled in human history. The American system has enabled an economy driven by competition and risk-taking. We made markets to marshal resources and direct them to their best uses. By funding basic research, we developed the most sophisticated array of medical and technology companies in the world. Resulting breakthroughs in energy, agriculture, communications, manufacturing, logistics and many other fields have made lives longer, more productive, and more rewarding for billions of people globally.

In today’s crisis, there are many urgent needs for innovation, including: Medical equipment to keep patients alive, treatments to relieve the suffering, protections for our healthcare and other frontline workers, manufacturing to supply our needs, transportation to move critical items to where they’re needed, communications tools to connect families, teachers, and community leaders, and a vaccine to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. Together, business and government are rallying to meet these needs.

America has the capacity, the know-how, and the drive to address this pandemic. However, it will be critical that we stay true to the principles and policies that made us the most innovative nation in the world. We need your steady hand on the helm as many around the world want to throw away the rule book and dismiss the rights and norms that enable private investment in research and development, innovation and creativity. We are with you in this time of need, and together we will prevail.

Sincerely,

David Hirschmann