Rep. Upton: Lame-duck session could help 21st Century Cures Act passage

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Michigan Rep. Fred Upton (R), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is looking to the lame-duck session after the general election to press for passage of the 21st Century Cures Act.

The legislation aims to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery cycle to get promising new treatments and cures to patients more quickly.

The House passed the bill handily in July 2015, but Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are still trying to work out a Senate version. The Senate is concerned about how to pay for new research at the National Institutes of Health, according to The Hill.

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Upton acknowledged in the article that there’s too little time to pass the bill before Congress is done for the fall. However, he said he remains "encouraged" that it will get done in this Congress.

While the bill contains good ideas for streamlining development and evaluation of new drugs and devices, 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, said in a New England Journal of Medicine article.

Others have raised concerns that the bill would create issues with patient privacy.

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