Senate Health Committee Kicks Off Its Biomedical Innovation Agenda, Passing 7 Bills with Bipartisan Support

On March 9 will vote on at least 5 more bipartisan bills – taking next step to produce companion legislation to House’s “21st Century Cures”

Posted on February 9, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 9 – The Senate health committee today kicked off the first of three committee meetings on its biomedical innovation agenda by passing seven bills with bipartisan support. The next meeting is scheduled for March 9, where the committee will debate and vote on at least five bipartisan bills.

“This is an important day, not just for this committee—but for all Americans who stand to benefit from this exciting time in medical innovation and research,” said Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “The House has completed its work on the 21st Century Cures Act, the president has announced his support for a Precision Medicine Initiative and a ‘cancer moonshot’—and with this bipartisan action in committee today, we’ve shown the Senate’s potential to be the vehicle that turns these groundbreaking ideas into law this year to help improve the lives of nearly every single American.”

The following bills were passed by the committee today with bipartisan support:

Sens. Bennet (D-Colo.), Warren (D-Mass.), Burr (R-N.C.), and Hatch (R-Utah) –The Advancing Targeted Therapies for Rare Diseases Act of 2015 (S. 2030):

  • Legislation to help advance therapies to patients with serious or life-threatening rare genetic diseases by allowing innovators to rely on their own data used for a previously approved targeted therapies to develop subsequent targeted therapies.

Sens. Burr (R-N.C.) and Franken (D-Minn.) –The FDA Device Accountability Act of 2015 (S. 1622):

  • Legislation to ensure Americans benefit from new medical devices more quickly by reducing unnecessary burdens in device evaluations and streamlining the review process for clinical trials. Additionally, this legislation modernizes the regulation of diagnostic tests—creating a path for rapid diagnostics.

Sens. Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Collins (R-Maine) – The Next Generation Researchers Act (S. 2014):

  • Legislation to help attract talented young scientists to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Sens. Kirk (R-Ill.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Hatch (R-Utah), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Isakson (R-Ga.), and Collins (R-Maine) –  The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act (S. 800):

  • Legislation to update rehabilitation research for the first time in more than 20 years and require the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) to develop and periodically update a comprehensive research plan for rehabilitation research and report to Congress on an annual basis regarding benchmarks in that plan.

Sens. Isakson (R-Ga.) and Murphy (D-Conn.) – The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act of 2015 (S. 849):

  • Legislation to help advance our understanding of neurological diseases and help researchers access data on these diseases in order to discover new therapies and cures.

Sen. Murray (D-Wash.) –The Preventing Superbugs and Protecting Patients Act (S. 2503):

  • Legislation to further encourage and clarify that the FDA requires cleaning and validation data for reusable medical devices and to direct the FDA to clarity when device changes require regulatory clearance.

Sens. Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Murray (D-Wash.) – The Improving Health Information Technology Act (S. 2511)

  • Legislation to improve health information technology for doctors and their patients. A full summary of that legislation is linked here.

The agenda for the March 9 committee meeting is as follows:

  • Sens. Casey (D-Pa.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Brown (D-Ohio), and Kirk (R-Ill.) – The Advancing Hope Act of 2015 (S. 1878)
  • Sens. Bennet (D-Colo.) and Hatch (R-Utah) – The Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumer’s Health (MEDTECH) Act (S. 1101)
  • Sens. Burr (R-N.C.), Casey (D-Pa.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Roberts (R-Kan.) – The Medical Countermeasures Innovation Act of 2015 (S. 2055)
  • Sens. Isakson (R-Ga.), Casey (D-Pa.),  Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Roberts (R-Kan.) –The Combination Products Innovation Act of 2015 (S.1767)
  • Sens. Burr (R-N.C.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Hatch (R-Utah), and Donnelly (D-Ind.) –The Advancing Breakthrough Medical Devices for Patients Act of 2015 (S.1077)
  • Additional bipartisan proposals may be added at a later date. 

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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