News & Press: Advocacy News

HELP Committee Introduces Legislation to Establish Biomedical Innovation Fund

Friday, March 4, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Whitney Lingafelter
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Earlier this year, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee announced it had failed to reach agreement on a comprehensive medical research enhancement bill (the Innovation panel) as a counterpart to the House’s 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6). Much like the House effort, the main stumbling block has been the issue of increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, how Congress can systematically and substantially increase NIH and FDA funding to accommodate additional and expanded programs and activities.  

In an effort to move the overall conversation on meaningful NIH and FDA funding forward this year, the Democrats on the HELP Committee introduced legislation, the National Biomedical Research Act. This legislation seeks to establish a Biomedical Innovation Fund to provide an additional $5 billion in annual funding for research activities. Supplemental funding is directed to the following programs and projects: 

•the execution of the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program 
•the execution of the BRAIN Initiative 
•the execution of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative 
•research that fosters disruptive innovation 
•research related to diseases that disproportionally account for Federal health care spending 
•early career scientists 
•improving diversity in science 
•the development, review, and post-market surveillance of medical products 
•regulatory science

This is now one of many funding proposals now circulating on Capitol Hill. Eventually, lawmakers will need to reach bipartisan consensus on how to move NIH and FDA funding forward. Research funding will be the primary issues that clinical and translational research advocates discuss with congressional offices during Translational Science 2016’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day on April 13th, 2016.