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21st Century Cures Bill Released; House to Vote Wednesday on $6.3 Billion Medical Innovation Package

Capitol Building flagWashington, DC, November 28, 2016 — U.S. House of Representatives and Senate health committee leaders have released the final “21st Century Cures” bill.

In addition, the leaders announced that the House will vote Wednesday on a $6.3 Billion landmark medical innovation package that will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments and provide new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The leaders said the House also will vote Wednesday to include in the Cures bill legislation that updates major mental health programs for the first time in a decade.  

The new funding includes $1 billion in state grants to fight opioid abuse.

In a joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said, “It is time to vote on 21st Century Cures, mental health legislation, and help fund the fight against opioid abuse.”

Upton and Alexander said, “The House vote on Wednesday will be an extraordinary opportunity to help almost every American family.  It will advance President Obama’s personalized medicine initiative, Vice-President Biden’s cancer moonshot, Alzheimer’s research and move many treatments and cures more rapidly and safely through the regulatory process and into doctors’ offices. It will address the needs of the one in five adult Americans who suffer mental illness.”

Upton and Alexander said, “What we have in the 21st Century Cures Act is an innovation game-changer, a transformational bill to bring our health infrastructure light years ahead to best match the incredible breakthroughs that are happening by the day.  And it is critical to remember that passing 21st Century Cures is the best way to ensure some of this funding occurs immediately in Fiscal 2017.”

Upton and Alexander continued, “We look forward to swift and favorable consideration of the 21st Century Cures Act in both the House and Senate.  America’s patients are waiting on us and we will deliver #CuresNow.”

Senate Majority leader McConnell has described the Cures bill as “the most important legislation Congress will consider this year” and said that, after the House acts, the Senate will act before the end of December.

The bill was first introduced by Chairman Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).  That bill passed the House in July 2015.

The 21st Century Cures agreement will:

  • Help bring drugs and devices to market more quickly and at less cost by making needed reforms to the FDA, including: expedited review for breakthrough devices, increased patient involvement in the drug approval process, a streamlined review process for combination products that are both a drug and device, and freedom from red tape for software like Fitbit or calorie counting apps.
  • 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 Vice President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” to speed research; and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s and speed diagnosis and treatment.
  • Provide $500 million to the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Provide $1 billion in grants to states to address the opioid crisis.
  • 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.

For information about the Act, click here.  For a section-by-section review, click here.