A 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
Senate next 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of our outdated research infrastructure.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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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
FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute