The novel coronavirus pandemic is the greatest challenge many Americans have or will face during their lifetime.

Flattening the curve is essential in order to ensure our hospitals do not become overwhelmed with the number of patients. That would lead to reduced access and diminishing quality of care for all conditions that require hospitalization.

We need to ramp up the production of diagnostic tests for states, screen existing medications for treatment alternatives, develop new therapies, and — most important — develop a vaccine.

As a former member of Congress, I know that in times of crisis we often look to our elected officials for answers and leadership. Some of the steps our leaders have taken have been way too late but at least those steps have now begun.

I must commend many governors across the country for the steps taken to attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

However, rather than coming together to put forth a cohesive and comprehensive effort for the good of humanity, some lawmakers have chosen to exploit this crisis in hopes of pushing policy initiatives such as government price controls and other restrictions.

These policies will not bring down the cost of medication or improve care; instead, they will limit critical innovation and leave potentially life-saving discoveries unexplored, leading to fewer new medications and less access for patients.

When we need their inventiveness most, the nation’s biopharmaceutical industry shouldn’t have to operate under the threat of short-sighted policies that may limit their ability to find a solution to this pandemic.

Medical innovation is essential to our ability to combat the virus, and it’s become clear that this is a task that cannot be accomplished without the help and innovation of private industry.

America’s biopharmaceutical companies are on the forefront of global innovation, constantly developing revolutionary cures and treatments. With continued support — from both the federal government and the entire health care community — I believe they can and will develop a vaccine.

Furthermore, an often-unsung hero in the world of biopharmaceutical innovation, for more than 15 years, the Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA) has worked to unite union workers with the biopharmaceutical industry in order to create high-quality jobs and innovate life-saving cures.

PILMA’s union workers are crucial in constructing and maintaining high-quality research and manufacturing facilities. In addition, after each new trial, research facilities must be wiped clean — systems changed, surfaces sterilized and equipment replaced.

Without the dependable and highly skilled labor of these individual labor union members, the biopharmaceutical industry would not be able to lead the charge in innovating lifesaving therapies and cures for the many ailments and diseases plaguing individuals around the world.

Their training does not cost the American taxpayer a single dime.

While our lives our currently filled with uncertainty, one thing that is clear is that as a nation we must work to support the many facets of this industry as they work to find a cure.

Only the combined strength, skill and determination of the biopharmaceutical industry, the government and the American worker will lead us out of this crisis.