21st Century Cures

The 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255) is landmark, bipartisan legislation that was signed into law on Dec. 13, 2016, and touches virtually all aspects of biomedical research, medical product development and the regulatory approval process. Read what FasterCures has said about 21st Century Cures over the years.

FasterCures worked closely with Congress, federal agencies and the advocacy community throughout the legislation’s journey to the president’s desk. In February 2017, we debuted the 21st Century Cures Tracker to track the implementation of the 100+ sections in Division A, which include the key provisions relevant to biomedical research and innovation. (Other divisions of the law pertain to mental health and Medicare; since those are not areas of focus for FasterCures, we will not be actively tracking them here.) Learn more about how to use the tracker with our FAQs page.

A few examples of the issues we will be tracking include the impact of changes to the National Institutes of Health’s administrative requirements for grantees, how the Food and Drug Administration implements new changes designed to enhance patient engagement and how the Department of Health and Human Services is using its new authorities to promote health information technology interoperability.

Many external factors will affect the progress of these initiatives, including policies related to hiring freezes and uncertain funding levels. This tracker is not meant to be a pass/fail report card, but rather a snapshot in time that can help explain impact and identify where progress is needed.

Please keep coming back, as we will be updating the information regularly. Use the button below to send us feedback on the value of the information we are presenting, and the usability of this new resource.

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FasterCures' 21st Century Cures Act Tracker (P.L. 114-255)

Status Section Tracked Deadlines and Requirements Update Date of Update Tags
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 2022. Improvement of loan repayment program. Establishes a revised loan repayment program to support researchers in various high-need topic areas.
6/13/2018: requires the publication of GAO study on NIH efforts to attract, retain, and develop emerging scientists, including individuals from underrepresented groups.
FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate. 20161213 12/13/2016 GAO, NIH, Reports, Workforce
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 2034. Reducing administrative burden for researchers. 12/13/2017: directs OMB to establish of the Research Policy Board.
12/13/2018: requires HHS review and revision of regulations and policies to reduce the administrative burden on researchers.
12/13/2018: requires HHS and USDA review and revision of regulations and policies for the care and use of laboratory animals to reduce administrative burden on researchers.
12/13/2018: requires submission of a Research Policy Board report to the White House and Congress containing formal recommendations on harmonization of policies to reduce administrative burden on researchers.
12/13/2020: requires publication of GAO report on the Research Policy Board's activities.
FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate. 20161213 12/13/2016 FDA, GAO, HHS, NIH, Research
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 3014. GAO study of priority review voucher programs. 12/31/2020: requires GAO to issue report evaluating the three Priority Review Voucher (PRV) programs: Neglected Tropical Disease, Rare Pediatric Disease, and Medical Countermeasure. FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate. 20161213 12/13/2016 FDA, GAO, Medical Countermeasures, Medical Product Development, Rare Disease, Regulatory Affairs
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 3042. Limited population pathway. Creates a new pathway for FDA to approve antibacterial and antifungal drugs based for limited populations, using a benefit-risk profile specific to that population.
6/13/2018: requires FDA to issue draft guidance describing this pathway and related processes.
At least every 2 years, FDA must report to Congress on the applications and approvals under this program.
12/31/2021: requires GAO issuance of a report on this program.
FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate. 20161213 12/13/2016 FDA, GAO, Infectious Disease, Regulatory Affairs, Reports
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 3071. Silvio O. Conte Senior Biomedical Research and Biomedical Product Assessment Service. 12/13/2020: requires GAO submission to Congress of a report on the effect of these amendments to HHS hiring authorities.

7/17/2017: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced a new hiring pilot, aimed at helping the agency fill hundreds of empty staff positions, including 500 just at its drug center.
5/25/2017: The hiring freeze of the administration was lifted from FDA.
3/10/2017: Read our memo, "Strengthening FDA’s Workforce: Opportunities for Action"
1/20/2017: Plans to reduce the size of the Federal workforce may adversely impact FDA.

20170717 07/17/2017 FDA, GAO, HHS, NIH, Reports, Workforce
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 3072. Hiring authority for scientific, technical, and professional personnel. 6/13/2018: requires FDA submission to Congress of a report on workforce needs and planning.
1/1/2022: requires GAO issuance of a report on FDA progress to recruit and retain staff.

7/17/2017: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. announced a new hiring pilot, aimed at helping the agency fill hundreds of empty staff positions, including 500 just at its drug center. 
5/25/2017: The hiring freeze of the administration was lifted from FDA.
3/10/2017: Read our memo, "Strengthening FDA’s Workforce: Opportunities for Action" 
1/20/2017: Plans to reduce the size of the Federal workforce may adversely impact FDA.

20170717 07/17/2017 FDA, GAO, Reports, Workforce
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 3084. Medical countermeasures innovation. 12/13/2020: requires GAO publication of a review of medical countermeasure innovation program established by this provision. The program will sunset on 9/30/2022.
FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate. 20161213 12/13/2016 BARDA, GAO, HHS, Medical Countermeasures, Medical Product Development, Reports
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 4007. GAO study on patient matching. 12/13/2017: requires GAO issue a study on matching patient identities to their health information - and protection of their privacy - by electronic health records and other health IT products.

FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate.

20161213 12/13/2016 GAO, Health IT, ONC, Reports
fa fa-2x fa-long-arrow-right Sec. 4008. GAO study on patient access to health information. 6/13/2018: requires GAO submission of a report to Congress on the findings of the study conducted 

FasterCures will periodically assess this item as appropriate.

20161213 12/13/2016 GAO, Health IT, Reports

 

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