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An Update on 21st Century Cures

October 31, 2016   |   Alliance for Aging Research Team   |   FDA & Regulatory Policy, National Institutes Of Health
United States Capitol building.

In recent months, the focus of the nation has shifted to the presidential election. However, lest we forget, there is still business to be done on Capitol Hill. One important piece of legislation to be considered by Congress after the election that we’ve been advocating for is H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act.

21st Century Cures was introduced by Chairman Fred Upton and Representative Diana DeGette in 2015. This bill demonstrated that there was bipartisan support for advancing medical research and innovation.

If enacted, it would improve how American biomedical research is conducted and streamline the processes for delivering new medical breakthroughs to patients.

As we noted in a blog post from last year, “The pace of scientific discovery since the turn of the century has accelerated at a speed that was not possible a generation ago. This bill was developed after the realization by leaders in Congress that the current health care innovation infrastructure needed improvement to accommodate these advances in science. H.R. 6 removes barriers to research collaboration, helps modernize clinical trials, facilitates patient input into the research and development process, encourages more young scientists to pursue careers in research, and authorizes an additional $10 billion for research funding at the National Institutes of Health.”

The Alliance served as one of 21st Century Cures’ primary supporters, as we recognized the bill’s unique potential to dramatically improve health care and biomedical research in the United States.

The bill passed in the U.S. House last summer and proceeded to the Senate. Unfortunately, that’s where the bill has been bogged down ever since. Despite numerous efforts to secure its passage and strong bipartisan support, the Cures Act still awaits final passage.

The good news, however, is there seems to be growing resolve to advance 21st Century Cures during the upcoming “lame-duck” session of Congress.

A story in The Hill quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying the bill’s passage is a big priority, “My own personal priorities are funding the government and the 21st Century Cures bill, which I think could end up being the most significant piece of legislation we pass in the whole Congress.”

The Alliance will be active during the lame-duck session of Congress advocating for this and other important legislation aimed at improving the health of older adults.

Joining with 700-plus other organizations, we remain supportive of 21st Century Cures, and we continue to hope that policymakers make it a high priority before the start of the new congressional session.

We’ll be sharing more information in the upcoming weeks.

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