Letter of support for the 21st Century Cures Act
Bringing a new treatment from the lab to the market currently takes 15 years and costs more than $1 billion – a tragic reality for the one in three Americans who lives with a deadly or debilitating disease. The 21st Century Cures Act before the House this week can help reduce both the time and cost of discovery and, in the process, bolster America’s status as the world’s biomedical innovation capital.
By improving our medical research system, the 21st Century Cures Act can help make the nation healthier – both physically and fiscally. The act’s provisions will save time and money by cutting through the complexity, bureaucracy, and inefficiency of our outdated research infrastructure.
We believe there are five key reasons to support the 21st Century Cures Act:
- Spurs Economic Growth and Saves Costs. Advances in bioscience have helped drive the world's economic growth over the past century. We have more than doubled average life expectancy on the planet,but challenges remain. Of the approximately 10,000 diseases, only about 500 have effective treatments.
- Invests in our Priorities. 21st Century Cures includes crucial funding for both the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which together comprise less than 1 percent of national outlays. These investments will support the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Cancer Moonshot, and the BRAIN initiative to advance important areas of research. The bill also makes needed reforms to strengthen FDA’s ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest clinicians, scientists, statisticians, and engineers to review medical products.
- Accelerates Scientific Progress. The life sciences – in convergence with technology, engineering, and other fields – are advancing at an unprecedented pace, enabling researchers to tackle challenges that have long vexed researchers and drug developers. In addition to supporting fundamental research, the bill will also promote innovations in regulatory science, such as new clinical trial designs and innovations in evidence generation, to accelerate the timeline without lowering the standard of review for medical products.
- Makes Collaboration Happen. 21st Century Cures tears down roadblocks to sharing the massive amounts of health data generated by researchers and clinicians, much of which is currently locked away in medical-research silos.
- Empowers Patients. 21st Century Cures gives patients an important new voice in the process by proposing the inclusion of patient representatives in entities created under the act. It also recognizes a role for patient perspectives to be incorporated into regulatory assessments of safety and efficacy for new medicines.
America’s long-term strength among nations depends on continued scientific progress. The medical research investments we make today can pay dividends for patients, their families, and caregivers far into the future and will help ensure the nation’s prosperity.
Michael Milken Margaret Anderson
Chairman Executive Director
Milken Institute FasterCures, A Center of the Milken Institute