U.S. House Votes YES on 21st Century Cures, Improving the Odds for Patients

July 10, 2015

In a bipartisan show of support for medical research, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) by an overwhelming 344 to 77 majority. The bill makes critical investments in research infrastructure that will improve the nation’s physical – and fiscal – health. Its passage marks a turning point in the evolution of patient engagement, and speeds the path to new treatments and cures for the one in three Americans living with a deadly or debilitating disease.

The culmination of a uniquely inclusive 18-month legislative process, 21st Century Cures represents the historic coming together of the biomedical research ecosystem and the federal government – across sectors, diseases and political parties – to accelerate the pace of progress for patients. With 10,000 known diseases and only 500 treatments, there is a lot of work to be done. And thanks to the passage of this act, we have the opportunity do some of that work now. Here are just a few of the promising provisions H.R. 6 includes:

  • Vital, sustained funding for NIH and FDA: The mandatory, five-year funding totaling $8.75 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $550 million for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – which can be deployed as early as FY2016 – supplements current budgets and means more support for promising young researchers working on tomorrow’s breakthrough discoveries, and greater scientific capacity for regulators shepherding these discoveries forward to patients.
  • New hiring authorities for FDA: By providing the resources necessary to hire qualified staff, it enables the agency to more efficiently respond to emerging science and strengthen the evidence used to regulate medical products.
  • A framework for sharing clinical data more openly: It tears down roadblocks to sharing the massive amounts of health data generated by researchers and clinicians, much of which are currently locked away in medical-research silos.
  • Expanded role for patients in decision-making: H.R. 6 gives patients an important new voice in the process by proposing the inclusion of patient representatives in entities created under the Act. It also recognizes a role for patient perspectives to influence regulatory assessments of safety and efficacy for new medicines.

FasterCures congratulates Chairman Fred Upton and Representative Diana DeGette for their leadership in this effort, and applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for taking an important step forward in the fight against disease.

“This is a big win for patients,” said Executive Director Margaret Anderson, “and most of us are, or will be at some point. The investments and reforms made today will pay dividends far into the future.”

FasterCures and the rest of the R&D ecosystem now look to the U.S. Senate to continue today’s momentum.