FASEB Submits Recommendations for Improving the 21st Century Cures Act

By | April 8, 2015

In a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) submitted suggestions for improving the 21st Century Cures Act. The recommendations addressed three basic themes in provisions concerning the National Institutes of Health (NIH): redundancy with existing regulations; micromanagement that could hinder future progress; and omission of key sections.

FASEB recommended removing seven sections that duplicate ongoing efforts or regulations.  For example, the bill proposes creating a Cures Consortium that parallels work being done through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as well as several public-private partnerships. The FASEB letter also suggested the removal of provisions that would micromanage NIH operations, such as the institution of four-year term limits for NIH institute directors. Finally, FASEB proposed expanding the legislation to exempt federal scientists from federal travel restrictions and to extend multi-year budget authority to NIH. Sample text to accomplish these goals was provided to the committee.

The 21st Century Cures initiative is an effort spearheaded by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) to speed the delivery of treatments and cures to the public and ensure that the United States remains a world leader in medical innovation. The nearly 400-page draft bill, released in January, covers myriad topics ranging from developing new antimicrobial drugs to regulating Medicare payments. Despite the committee’s intent to “send a bill to President Obama’s desk for signature by the end of the year,” attempts to reach bipartisan consensus on the document continue, and it is unclear when a revised draft will be released.

The Energy and Commerce Committee continues to accept feedback on 21st Century Cures at cures@mail.house.gov.