Earlier this month, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee held the last of three sessions to discuss a series of bills related to fostering innovation in medicine.
The approved bills, 19 in total, are meant to accompany the 21st Century Cures bill passed by the House of Representatives last July which aims to reform, and increase funding for, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Chairman of the HELP committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), claims that the new potential legislation "Will help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) attract and retain the talent they need to handle all the exciting developments headed their way for research and review—a top priority for the heads of both agencies."
The 21st Century Cures bill would also permit an NIH Innovation Fund consisting of $8.75 billion in mandatory spending over a period of five years. The fund would serve a number of predetermined purposes, most of which would be focused on increasing research and expediting drug approval processes.
Concerns about how the 21st Century Cures bill would increase funding so significantly have kept members of Congress hesitant. In fact, members of the HELP committee have agreed that without a plan detailing how to fund these organizations, the bill won’t continue to the full Senate for a vote.
NIH has provided its support to researchers and their organizations for over a century in the hope of facilitating important medical discoveries and improving overall health across the nation. To read more, click here.