Opinion

It’s Time to Deliver #CuresNow

Three years ago, we agreed that our country needed to transform its health and research system to fight disease effectively in the 21st century. Patients deserved better. We could do better.

Every single American has been touched by disease in some fashion, whether directly or indirectly, and the toll is painfully all too familiar. But from the rarest diseases to the more common, there is a reason for all to have hope this year.

While bipartisan collaboration has been less than abundant in Washington recently, it has been the driving force for us, a Republican from Michigan and a Democrat from Colorado. We came up with the 21st Century Cures Act, an innovation game-changer providing a way to safely speed the discovery, development and delivery of new treatments and cures.

We are united on the #Path2Cures in the belief that the country needs and is ready for a renewed effort to support biomedical research and harness innovation to turn discoveries in the lab into outcomes that change patients’ lives.

Our open and collaborative process led to groundbreaking ideas. It was a comprehensive effort that criss-crossed the country, engaging experts in every related field, from academia to government to private industry and everything in between. And most importantly, we listened to patients.

Our efforts have culminated in legislation that will provide necessary resources to researchers to continue their efforts to uncover the next generation of cures and treatments: H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act.

This transformational bill will bring our health infrastructure lightyears ahead to best match the incredible breakthroughs that are happening by the day. The bill provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help researchers change the way we fight disease by catalyzing cutting-edge research, modernizing clinical trials, and improving the medical device review process.

The 21st Century Cures Act invests $4.8 billion in new resources for a medical research innovation fund at the National Institutes of Health that will target diseases for which there is not yet a cure. It also supports the Food and Drug Administration with new resources to keep pace with medical innovation, including new drugs and devices that need expert review. This bill also brings the patient perspective to the heart of research and development, and seeks to foster better use of personalized medicine and more participation in clinical trials.

This bill also funds Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot initiative — putting the universal goals of learning more about cancers, how to detect them, how to treat them, and beyond, well within our grasp.

Labeled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) as “the most significant piece of legislation we pass in the whole Congress,” we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically change the way we treat disease.

The American people expect Congress to come together on matters that can improve lives. The 21st Century Cures Act is a rare act of bipartisanship that can fulfill that promise.

We have long said that together we can achieve this goal. We are on the cusp of something special. Today the House will vote on the bipartisan agreement recently reached by our colleagues. The Senate is expected to quickly follow suit. From there, we just need President Barack Obama’s signature.

This bill is for those battling disease yesterday, today, and tomorrow, delivering more hope and more time to patients and their loved ones.

Just as we were three years ago, we remain united in this unprecedented and critical effort. Together, we will change the way we fight disease and help deliver #CuresNow.

 

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Commitee. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) also serves on the committee.

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