21st Century Cures Approved in House Energy and Commerce Committee
May 21, 2015
Today, the House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) by a vote of 51-0. This initiative was launched by Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) more than a year ago and the Society has been an active participant in the development of the bill and MS activists have relentlessly advocated for its passage. The bill will help to modernize and personalize healthcare, to encourage innovation, to support research and to streamline the system in order to deliver better, faster cures to patients. A notable provision included in the bill is the National Neurological Diseases Surveillance System, which is the same text as the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act (H.R. 292/S.849). The data collection system that would be mandated in H.R. 292/ S.849 will create a nationwide system to track the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases, including MS, which will help researchers examine potential risk factors and triggers for developing MS.
In addition to the creation of neurological data collection system, the bill will implement a number of other changes to the research field. Notably, the bill will increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through both discretionary and mandatory funding, mandates that the FDA collect and incorporate more patient experience data into their drug reviews, and creates the Cures Innovation Fund to provide additional funds to the FDA in order to implement the new regulations, among many others. The passage of this Act is another step towards finding a cure, and the Society could not have done it alone. Over 4,000 letters were sent to Members of Congress from our MS activists since the bill was introduced in January, and the Society will continue to support the bill as it moves to the House floor in the coming weeks.