Today’s Guest Blog comes from Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America.
Medical research and innovation appear to be the new buzz words on Capitol Hill. Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in the way Congress views research as a national priority? Members from both sides of the aisle have been jockeying to demonstrate to the public and most importantly to their constituents their support for measures to speed up the delivery of new therapies and cures to patients in a safe and efficient manner. The 21st Century Cures discussion draft is among several initiatives recently introduced aimed at removing barriers to innovation and strengthening our research infrastructure to combat health threats claiming millions of lives and crippling our economy with rising health care costs.
Spearheaded by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), 21st Century Cures recognizes that discovery, development and delivery are interconnected and must work seamlessly to ensure medical breakthroughs reach the finish line, the treatment delivery phase, at a rapid pace. The initiative aims to modernize clinical trials, incorporate patients’ perspectives in the regulatory process, foster data sharing, reduce administrative burden on researchers, create new incentives to encourage R&D for unmet medical needs, and explore strategies to quicken the pace in which new medicaldevices reach patients, among many other provisions that impact all phases of the research and development pipeline from basic and applied research, to FDA review, to coverage and access.
Research!America’s priority is to ensure that policies are aligned behind the goal of increasing the volume and pace of U.S. medical innovation and that additional resources are allocated to federal health agencies to help carry out tasks and responsibilities included in final legislation. We hope the 21st Century Cures initiative signals the reemergence of bipartisanship for medical innovation in Washington to ensure that an increasing number of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases, known and unknown, benefit from scientific research from bench to bedside.