This week the House is taking the fight to thousands of diseases that impact the lives of millions of our families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and parishioners.
There are 10,000 known diseases—7,000 of which are rare—but there are treatments for only 500 of them. Diseases do not discriminate, and just about everyone knows somebody who has been stricken with a debilitating or deadly illness. In the 21st Century, innovation and technological advances that increase productivity and our quality of life should also deliver more hope to patients and their families. This week, the House will consider landmark legislation—known as the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6)—that invests in medical research and modernizes our health care system to discover, develop, and deliver cures to Americans seeking relief in the fight against disease.
This legislation is particularly important in California’s Central Valley, where a rare disease known as Valley Fever lurks conspicuously in the soil and has affected thousands of our neighbors. This has burdened our community for decades and bedeviled the medical community. The ability to streamline clinical trials within 21st Century CURES is chief among reforms that can help researchers develop treatments and vaccines for Valley Fever.
The 21st Century CURES Act takes meaningful steps to revamp our health innovation apparatus so we can continue to deliver safe, effective treatments more efficiently and creatively not just in the Central Valley, but in the nation as a whole. It also tackles faster regulatory approval to help in finding new cures as quickly as possible.
Here are just three ways the House’s CURES bill brings our approach to medicine into the 21st century:
- It cuts through red tape. CURES will streamline the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) process for approving drugs and devices to get them ready for patient use more rapidly. According to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it now takes “around 14 years and $2 billion or more” to develop a new drug and “more than 95 percent of [such] drugs fail during development.” Patients across the country do not have 14 years to wait. The House’s 21st Century CURES brings our regulatory framework up to speed with the transformative changes happening in science and technology today.
- It incorporates personalized medicine. The bill provides guidance for a more collaborative effort among patients, physicians, innovators, researchers, developers, and regulators. It also embraces the use of personalized medicine, so patients can be treated based on their unique characteristics. This makes treatment more effective and helps to better refine and target research.
- Invests in the future of science. The bill provides an additional $10 billion to the National Institutes of Health’s innovation fund, as well as more resources for the FDA. It also invests in young scientists—our next generation of innovators to help America maintain its place as the medical innovation capital of the world, keeping both jobs and cures here at home.
This bold 21st Century CURES initiative has demonstrated the power of leadership and bipartisanship in the House. Authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (CO-01), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (PA-16), full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-03), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (TX-29), this bill is a win for every American.