Group Seeks Required NIH, FDA Funds in Senate Bill

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Oct. 19 — The Senate's medical innovation bill needs to include mandatory funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, research advocacy group Research!America told Senate leaders in an Oct. 19 letter.

“Our nation need not abide the level of human suffering and the weight of healthcare costs that attend health conditions we can conquer. A funding boost for NIH will empower our nation to fight harder and find answers faster,” the letter said. “The logic for mandatory FDA funding is equally straightforward. If FDA is given additional responsibilities without additional resources, the stage will be set for slowdowns, not faster speeds, in the review of new medical products. Neither patients nor taxpayers can afford this worst case scenario.”

A draft bill expected this fall from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is largely viewed as the companion bill to the House-passed 21st Century Cures bill (H.R. 6). But there have been questions about whether mandatory funding provided in H.R. 6 will be included in the Senate version. HELP's top Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said she won't support a bill without more funding for the NIH; HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), said he'd consider it but has some questions. 

A Democratic aide told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 19 that there may be a draft bill out by the end of October, but that the primary goal is to develop “thoughtful, bipartisan” legislation.

The Research!America letter is available at http://src.bna.com/D7.