Today, the U.S. Senate voted 94-5 to pass the landmark, bipartisan $6.3 billion medical innovations package known as the 21st Century Cures Act. With this action, the legislation – which had previously passed the House by an overwhelming 392-26 vote – now moves onto to the White House and President Obama to take the final step of signing it into law. The president has already indicated he will quickly sign the bill (which he has 10 days to do), therefore rendering the legislation, for all intents and purposes, officially law.
National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) has supported the 21st Century Cures Act since early on in its drafting process two years ago. NBTS provided comment on a number of iterations of the draft legislation; meet with key congressional staff working on the bill to discuss specific language; partnered with other advocacy groups and coalitions to generate broad backing for the package; and engaged directly with, and activated, volunteer brain tumor advocates to urge their members of Congress to support the bill.
The following is an official statement from National Brain Tumor Society’s Chief Executive Officer, David F. Arons, JD:
“Nearly two years ago, the National Brain Tumor Society put our shoulders into legislation that was emerging in Congress that would provide much needed additional funding for, and foster innovation in, biomedical research. As it emerged in its various draft forms, the 21st Century Cures Act become a priority piece of public policy for NBTS and our legislative agenda, because of numerous provisions we are confident will invigorate the cycle of discovery, development, and delivery of new safe and effective treatments for brain tumor patients.
Today, we applaud the passage of the final bill through both houses of Congress. While the legislation is not perfect, it represents a remarkable piece of bipartisan support for biomedical research funding and innovation in the United States. Ultimately, NBTS is excited by a number of sections of the bill that we believe are public policy victories for the brain tumor community, including:
- Authorizing $4.8 billion in extra funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $1.8 billion to fund the National Cancer Moonshot effort;
- Authorizing $500 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – which reviews and ensures all new treatments are safe and effective – to help this critical agency modernize their efforts to support drug development, as well as further incorporate the patient voice into the process; and
- Promoting pediatric research by encouraging the NIH and FDA to work with the European Union, industry, and others to establish a global pediatric clinical study network. The Act also reauthorizes the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program until 2020.
NBTS thanks the 21st Century Cures Act’s sponsors and champions in both the House and Senate, especially Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the rest of the House Energy & Commerce and Senate HELP committees, as well as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The 21st Century Cures legislation will benefit the brain tumor community by providing significant direction, resources and tools for the NIH, FDA and other research centers to empower discovery and accelerate the development of treatments that take into account patient’s experience. It is perhaps a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make greater progress now for a disease that unfortunately has seen little in decades. Again, we thank the 21st Century Cures Acts sponsors, and who voted for it in both chambers, as well as President Obama for his stated support for a swift signing.”
More resources on the 21st Century Cures Act: