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House Passes 21st Century Cures Act

On July 10, the House approved, 344-77, H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. The Energy and Commerce Committee approved the legislation on July 7.

Sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the bill would authorize funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the committee report, the bill would authorize nearly $100 billion over the next three years for medical research at NIH. The report notes that “Congress has appropriated an average of about $30 billion annually to continue operating those programs across all areas of research at NIH.” The measure also would make changes to FDA’s “approach to regulating prescription drugs, biologicals, medical devices, and health-related technology” and is estimated to cost roughly $562 million over the FY2016-2020 period.

Among several other provisions, the bill would direct the secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the director of NIH, to increase the number of women and minorities in biomedical and behavioral research.

During consideration of the measure, the House approved, by voice vote, an amendment by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) to ensure that women and minorities are included in a report on emerging young scientists.

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