The US Senate just voted 94-5 to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. This is an historic moment for American medical innovation and the millions of patients who will benefit.
The Cures Act is groundbreaking. Over the 40 years I have been in medicine, there has never been a more exciting time for medical innovation than today. The Senate’s passage of this bill will impact millions of Americans and give a big voice to patients in improving their care. With an estimated 7,000–10,000 known molecular-based diseases without cures, we now have an opportunity to change that trajectory and find new cures and treatments for patients.
Chairman Lamar Alexander’s vision and steady leadership in spearheading the Senate version through the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee was vital to making today possible. I worked with Senator Alexander and the Bipartisan Policy Center to bring in medical perspectives from across the county to develop key pieces of the final legislation, including language to advance regenerative cell therapies that hold promise for restoring vision, repairing hearts, and rebuilding damaged joints.
This legislation includes major investments in cancer research, precision medicine, opioid-abuse prevention, and neurological disorders, paired with the streamlining of regulations, that will advance treatments for the millions of Americans still suffering from untreatable illnesses. No other legislation enacted this Congress will do as much good for so many. Its passage today will pave the way for groundbreaking cures that will touch nearly every American family, and demonstrates that Washington can still work together to address the most pressing needs of the American public.
For more information, please see the press release from the Bipartisan Policy Center:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2016
Contact: Joann Donnellan
Congress Puts Patients First Passing Groundbreaking 21st Century Cures Act
Washington, D.C.– Today, Congress put patients first by passing the 21st Century Cures Act – groundbreaking medical innovation and research legislation that will help millions of Americans with life-threatening diseases and their families. The Bipartisan Policy Center applauds Congress for working together to achieve this rare bipartisan compromise. It signals an encouraging moment for the nation that their government can make progress on behalf of the American people.
“The Cures Act is groundbreaking. Over the 40 years I have been in medicine, there has never been a more exciting time for medical innovation than today,” said former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. “The Senate’s passage of this bill will impact millions of Americans and give a big voice to patients in improving their care. With an estimated 7,000–10,000 known molecular-based diseases without cures, we now have an opportunity to change that trajectory and find new cures and treatments for patients.”
“I congratulate my former colleagues on tackling this ambitious legislation and succeeding,” said former Rep. Bart Gordon. “It shows the American people that Congress can work together to create and pass meaningful legislation that will touch their lives. I am especially pleased to see the Senate honor Vice President Biden by renaming the cancer moonshot and NIH innovation projects in the bill for his son Beau, who lost his brave battle to cancer last year.”
BPC began its medical innovation initiative in 2014 under the leadership of former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., and former Rep. Bart Gordon. The Cures bill reflects many provisions outlined in its July 2015 report Advancing Medical Innovation for a Healthier America: bringing the voice of the patient into the drug development process, increasing the use of real-world evidence and drug development tools to improve the drug development process, advancing precision medicine to tailor treatments for patients, enhancing the FDA’s ability to hire and retain top scientific talent, improving interoperability and increasing regulatory clarity associated with health information technology, and improving the regulation of regenerative cell therapies.
“This legislation will accelerate the development of promising new treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer,” said Janet Marchibroda, director of BPC Health Innovation. “Extending the existing FDA accelerated pathway to include regenerative cell therapy will preserve the gold standard for safety and efficacy. This is not only groundbreaking for patients, this is groundbreaking for their families and caretakers who can also be affected.”
“Ultimately, this legislation will accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of new drugs and devices in a safe and effective manner and modernize the Food and Drug Administration,” said former FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, who serves on BPC’s medical innovation initiative advisory committee. “It will also empower the FDA to significantly enhance the scientific resources it requires to cope with the advances in the science and technologies of medical product development.”
The bill supports significant investment in innovation and research at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, including President Obama’s precision medicine initiative so doctor’s can tailor treatments to patients; the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot to fight cancer; the BRAIN initiative to find new cures and treatments for neurological disorders and brain diseases, and to address mental illness and opioid abuse.