Friday, July 30, 2021
Rachel Sachs (Washington University in Saint Louis), Encouraging Interagency Collaboration: Learning from COVID-19, J. L. & Innovation (forthcoming 2021):
In the health innovation context, federal regulatory authority is sharply fragmented among different agencies. The National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other agencies all share responsibilities in the development and dissemination of new healthcare technologies. Scholars have previously written about the importance of interagency collaboration both in the healthcare area and more generally, and about strategies for encouraging collaborative efforts to promote various policy goals. Under these accounts, a failure to collaborate between federal agencies may be unfortunate, but it does not typically result in or exacerbate a crisis. In the COVID-19 context, however, failures of federal interagency coordination may have had much more severe negative consequences for the spread of the pandemic in the United States. This Article first spotlights two examples of healthcare innovation for COVID-19 – diagnostic tests and vaccines – and details both the ways in which agency failures of collaboration created serious problems for our COVID-19 response and the ways in which interagency collaborations have successfully driven innovation and access to these new technologies. The Article goes on to consider what lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of these innovative efforts about best – and worst – practices in interagency collaboration going forward.