What is the 21st Century Cures Act?

On the week after Thanksgiving, 2016, the House of Representatives is planning to pass a newly revised bill called the 21st Century Cures Act that its advocates claim will result in life-saving new drugs and medical devices. But does it?

The bill promises to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but will that promise be fulfilled?  There is great concern that the promise won’t be kept, given the strong pressure to cut federal spending by many Tea Party Republicans.  But wishful thinking has resulted in strong lobbying from medical schools, researchers, and some patients.

Whether or not it provides any funding for the NIH, the bill has a high cost to patients, because the bill weakens the scientific requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for new medical products. Many would be approved that are less effective and less safe than those already available to patients – and they would cost more, too.  This has the potential to hurt millions of patients.

The House and Senate will be voting soon. They need to hear from you.


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