Life-Saving Legislation, 21st Century Cures Act, Advances in House

Nov 29, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Vital innovations in biomedical research are within reach, potentially saving countless lives, with the House about to debate its final version of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) said.

“This is a watershed moment for patients, their loved ones and health care professionals across the United States,” DeGette said.  “We’re bringing hope to millions of people suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and a host of other ailments.” 

DeGette is co-author, together with Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), of the original 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), which the House passed 344-77 in 2015. Negotiations with members of the Senate and with the White House produced a bill that melds House and Senate policies.  It includes funding to address the nation’s opioid crisis and to implement Vice President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative to facilitate more robust research.

The legislation will help overcome obstacles to medical progress – from discovery to development to delivery – through investing in innovation, incorporating the patient perspective and modernizing clinical trials.  Among its key provisions, the consensus version of the bill before the House will:

  • Provide $4.8 billion to National Institutes of Health, including: $1.4 billion for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative to drive research into the genetic, lifestyle and environmental variations of disease; $1.8 billion for the “Cancer Moonshot;” and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer's and to speed diagnosis and treatment.
  • Provide $1 billion in grants to states to address the opioid crisis.
  • Remove the silos at the Food and Drug Administration by transitioning it toward a disease-centric approach, and provide $500 million additional support to the FDA.
  • Catalyze cutting-edge research by supporting potentially transformative efforts and providing opportunities for new researchers.
  • Modernize clinical trials by harmonizing regulations protecting patients.
  • Address the country’s mental health crisis and help the one out of five adult Americans suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders receive the care they need.

More than 700 groups have voiced support for the House legislation.  Many have participated in a variety of forums to offer feedback on the bill, and they have worked with members of both the House and Senate to convey the urgency of seeing it become law.