Washington—For urologists and other health care practitioners—and anybody who cares about having medicines to treat whatever disease might befall them—there is positive, bipartisan activity underway in Washington.
Despite the common perception of Congress being filled with a bunch of politically obsessed do-nothings, there actually is a determined and dedicated group of lawmakers and staff assistants who are working practically 24-7 to develop a sweeping new initiative that would help speed drug and device approvals and increase funding for new drug innovation.
Bill includes $10 billion for innovation fund
The so-called 21st Century Cures initiative, released in an updated 200-page document last week by bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would steer $10 billion in mandatory spending into a National Institutes of Health (NIH) innovation fund over 5 years and authorize another $1.5 billion in discretionary dollars in each of the next 3 years. The innovation fund would be used for precision medicine, including funding the work of emerging young scientists.
The draft bill was released by Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI); ranking minority member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ); Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO); ranking minority member of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee; Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA); and ranking Health Subcommittee member Gene Green (D-TX). Upton said he would have a completed bill on the House floor for consideration in June.