Jan. 22, 2016

Senate Moves Forward on Innovations for Healthier Americans

By Kim Cantor, VP of Government Relations

Lupus activists and the Lupus Foundation of America have been working hard for more than a year on a bill called 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2015.  And the Senate is finally ready to take action.  Like the 21st Century Cures Act, the Senate Innovation Initiative has the potential to improve the drug development process and bring new and vital treatments forward for people with chronic diseases like lupus. Unfortunately, they are unable to move a big bill like the House, but earlier this week scheduled a series of meetings in February, March and April where they will consider a number provisions under their Innovations effort separately.  While not ideal, scheduling these meetings continues the momentum of 21st Century Cures. 

The 21st Century Cures Act, spearheaded by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), provides an additional $8.75 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health; establishes a public-private partnership to collect data and improve our understanding of diseases; supports patient-focused drug development; and modernizes the design of clinical trials and their review process.

While the nine provisions that the Senate will consider on February 9th do not directly impact people living with lupus, the Foundation maintains our support of the Senate's broader innovations work.  We will continue our advocacy efforts with the Senate to ensure the meetings in March and April consider provisions that will directly impact lupus drug development.  We will continue to keep you updated as this moves forward this year, and thank you in advance for your continued support.

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