In January 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a white paper, Innovation for Healthier Americans, outlining challenges faced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration that contribute to inefficiencies in the delivery systems for drug and medical products. The HELP Committee asked for feedback from stakeholders in the innovation process on specific challenges that should be addressed to have the greatest impact. In a letter submitted to the HELP Committee, FASEB identified three actions Congress should take to provide immediate benefits to NIH researchers and ultimately improve the environment for innovation: 1) stabilize the NIH budget through sustained increases in appropriations; 2) allow unused funds to be carried over between fiscal years; and 3) ease the burdensome travel restrictions for federal researchers and clinicians.
The Senate’s effort parallels the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21st Century Cures Initiative. The HELP Committee continues to hold hearings and could release draft legislation in late 2015.