How to Slow the Pace of Medical Progress

The Americans infected with the Ebola virus appear to be improving — very welcome news, especially given the virus’s death rate, which is estimated to be as high 90 percent.

Currently, no cure exists for Ebola, though one company has developed a vaccine that is being prepared for human testing. All the world prays that its efforts will prove successful, a treatment for the infected will emerge, and this threat will be eliminated permanently.

What can our national leaders do to ensure that we are better prepared for the next deadly threat that’s sure to emerge? Here’s an idea: How about a special, dedicated tax on the companies researching and developing treatments and cures for infectious diseases such as Ebola to drain billions of dollars from their vital work and further bloat the federal Treasury?

Sounds crazy, right? No one would ever propose such an obviously counterproductive policy that would impede urgently needed research. No one would seek to punish efforts to develop lifesaving treatments, alleviate suffering and use the critical nature of such work as a government revenue-raiser.