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October 31, 2016

Research groups push back on talk of delaying cures bill

  • Elected Body
  • Genetics/Genomics

The Hill - Research advocates are calling on Congress to pass a medical cures bill this year after a coalition of liberal groups asked to delay it.

Research America, which includes universities, drug companies and disease groups, and United for Medical Research, which includes universities and groups like the American Cancer Society, both sent letters to congressional leadership on Friday calling for action on the bill, known as 21st Century Cures. 

“Putting this bill off until the next Congress likely means putting it off for the foreseeable future — a terrible outcome for our country,” the United for Medical Research letter states. “This is a rare opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of all Americans.”

Research America made a similar case for the bill, which seeks to invest in medical research and speed up the Food and Drug Administration's approval of new drugs. 

“The Cures initiative does not solve every challenge facing patients and our health care system, but it does deploy American ingenuity, empathy and determination to save more lives,” it wrote. “It would be tragic if we acquiesce to the status quo when better is within our reach.”

The bill is in jeopardy after a coalition of 13 liberal groups, including the Center for American Progress and the AFL-CIO, on Wednesday called for the bill to be delayed until next year so that drug prices, an area of growing outrage, can be addressed as part of the measure. 

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee then put out a statement calling for drug pricing measures to be included in the bill, which would be a steep climb for Republicans to agree to this year. 

Republican leadership in both chambers, though, said in September that they hope to pass the bill in the lame-duck session after the elections.