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Pharmaceuticals

Bill Advances To Fund More Research In Medicine And Cures

by Britt E. Erickson
June 1, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 22

A bipartisan bill that would boost research funding for the discovery of new treatments and cures for devastating diseases is working its way through Congress. The Energy & Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill—the proposed 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6)—by a vote of 51-0 in late May. The legislation would authorize annual increases of $1.5 billion for three years for the National Institutes of Health and provide an additional $2 billion annually for five years for a new NIH Innovation Fund. At least $500 million of that fund would be used to support research in precision medicine, antibiotics discovery, biomarkers, and basic biomedical research. H.R. 6 would also provide $110 million annually for the next five years to FDA to streamline regulatory processes and accelerate drug approvals. Lawmakers have changed the bill since it was introduced in April, in part by adding a requirement that NIH develop a five-year strategic plan based on scientific, not economic, considerations.

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