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Congresswoman Barbara Comstock

Representing the 10th District of Virginia

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Landmark 21st Century Cures Act Passes House

November 30, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement after voting in favor of the House-Senate negotiated 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House by a vote of 392 to 26.  The legislation will now go to the Senate for final approval before being sent to the president for signature:

“The 21st Century Cures Act is a game changer in medical innovation in the fight for cures of chronic diseases.  This legislation will help the United States lead the way in medical research and brings hope to patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions as we fight to find new cures.  The 21st Century Cures Act brings together both public and private investment toward medical research, while streamlining the testing and approval process that will lead to new lifesaving treatments getting to patients faster.  We must unleash medical innovation across the country to save lives, and this bill does just that.  Northern Virginia is home to the Inova Schar Cancer Institute which is ranked in the nation’s top ten percent of cancer centers and the world class research being done there will be helped by the passage of this legislation.

“Childhood cancer has devastated families throughout the country and the 21st Century Cures Act includes $1.8 billion for cancer research, $1 billion of which will support the Cancer Moonshot over the next three years.  Two families I know in the Tenth District have been personally touched by childhood cancer, having lost children to cancer.  The Miller family, who lost their daughter Gabriella, and the Giordano family, who lost their son Mathias, have made it their mission to bring awareness and research dollars to the types of cancers that took their own children and this legislation is a big step forward for more resources to stamp out childhood cancers. 

 

“Another issue that our community sees the effects of daily is opioid abuse. $1 billion in the 21st Century Cures Act will be used to fight this disease that has taken so many victims and was recently declared a Public Health Emergency in Virginia.  Fighting addiction requires an all-of-the-above approach and we have talked to medical professionals, healthcare providers, and law enforcement, among others in our region, to better target our response to opioid abuse.  This legislation is another powerful tool in this ongoing battle.

“Also incorporated into the 21st Century Cures legislation is the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, important reforms that will pave the way for greater resources to improve the lives of many in our communities.  Years of valuable input from a wide array of stakeholders has been taken into account and, most importantly, there has been input from families, caregivers, and those personally affected by mental health conditions and a wide spectrum of other illnesses and disorders. This bill is a critical step toward providing integrated resources for those in need.”

Background 21st Century Cures:

21st Century Cures is designed to help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments and cures for patients and maintain our nation’s standing as the biomedical innovation capital of the world. There are 10,000 known diseases, but we only have cures and treatments for 500 of them. The bill would help patients suffering from those diseases by:

  • Streamlining and improving the FDA’s review of life-saving drugs for patients
  • Modernizing clinical trials and removing regulatory uncertainty for the development of new medical apps
  • Supporting and investing in the next generation of Scientists

The bill provides $4.8 billion over 10 years to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for:

  • The Precision Medicine Initiative
  • The Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative
  • Cancer research
  • Regenerative medicine using adult stem cells

Additionally, the bill provides:

  • $500 million to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over 10 years to move drugs and medical devices to patients more quickly
  • $1 billion over 2 years for grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities, such as improving prescription drug monitoring programs and implementing prevention