21st Century Cures Act sails through House

The 21st Century Cures Act has sailed through the House with a vote of 344-77.

The House voted on the bill this morning, and it now moves on to the Senate.

"Today, we took a big leap on the path to cures, but we still have much work left to do," the bill's authors said in a statement. "The 344 votes today should be a springboard for action." The authors include House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Gene Green (D-Texas).

Despite the broad support from the House, the bill has seen its share of controversy.

The act contains good ideas for streamlining development and evaluation of new drugs and devices, but other provisions could lead to an approval process that is less safe, Jerry Avorn, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Aaron Kesselheim, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, wrote recently in The New England Journal of Medicine.

What's more, while the Obama administration came out earlier this week in support of the legislation, even the White House has its concerns. Those included a provision approving additional funding for the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration without addressing sequestration more broadly, as well as new responsibilities for FDA in the bill that may exceed resources, FierceHealthIT reported.

For more:
- here's the statement