This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed (344-77) the 21st Century Cures Act. This is a monumental achievement, designed to fundamentally restructure the Food and Drug Administration and thereby reverse the staggering decline of productivity in medical research and development.
The bill started as a bipartisan effort in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, where Republican and Democratic leaders moved beyond rhetoric and went right back to the basics, questioning the role of the federal government in spurring innovation and regulating our access to medical technology.
Unfortunately, their achievement is tainted by another fiscal glitch. For the third time (after the Medicare “doc fix” and repeal of the medical device excise tax), the House has voted for spending while weakening its commitment to offsetting cuts.
NCPA’s CEO, Allen B. West, and I addressed this in a recent article. We will keep addressing it as the bill moves towards and through the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, here is what some others have to say:
- Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute emphasizes the benefits of the reform to productivity in pharmaceutical research and development, in an issue brief that illustrates how the FDA has impeded it.
- Heritage Action for America condemns the bill’s granting mandatory spending to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Heritage Action points out that NIH funding has previously been discretionary, and discretionary funding can be restored within sequester limits.
- Campaign for Liberty and Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom are not only concerned about the spending, but that the bill is too liberal in exposing patient data for research purposes.
- Americans for Tax Reform is confident that the increase in mandatory spending is paid for by cuts to other mandatory spending, and accepts the Congressional Budget Office’s argument that the bill will result in a tiny cut in federal spending over the next decade.
- Yevgeny Feyman of the Manhattan Institute argues that making NIH spending mandatory is well worth the benefits the bill will bring.