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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis Applauds Passage of 21st Century Cures Act

December 1, 2016
Press Release

Final version of landmark legislation to boost scientific innovation and research passes House with bipartisan support

Please click here or on the image below to watch Bilirakis's floor speech

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Today, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) applauded the House passage of the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34), major legislation that supports scientific innovation and medical research for finding new treatments and cures for deadly diseases.

Bilirakis spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about the incredible impact the 21st Century Cures Act would have on so many Americans. Deadly diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and more, affect each and every one of us.

“Within Cures you will find the voices of patients, doctors, advocacy groups, and families I met with from throughout Florida’s 12th Congressional District. I’m proud to say that a lot of their input is reflected in this final bill.

“Samantha Lindsay from Lutz, Florida, has Alpha-1, a rare genetic condition resulting in serious lung problems. When we met, she talked about the need to use biomarkers for faster approval of drugs for rare diseases.  We did that--we have a framework for biomarker qualifications in this legislation.

“Wayne Taylor, from Hudson, Florida, was a leukemia patient.  He talked about the difficulty of participating in the clinical trials that eventually saved his life.  This bill has reforms to make clinical trials more patient-focused and input-driven.

“Dr. Dave Morgan, the CEO of the Byrd Institute at the University of South Florida, talked about the need for stable funding for Alzheimer’s, and reforming Institutional Review Boards.  This bill invests in the NIH, and reforms the IRB system.

“Cures also includes my provisions to reform the FDA’s Office of Combination Products to streamline approval of these products, establish a new Medicare website to help seniors price shop, and allow physical therapists to enter into locum tenens arrangements so they can take maternity leave or sick time without having to turn away patients.

“For many families, including my own, the potential impact of 21st Century Cures could change lives. Let’s get this meaningful bill across the finish line.  Thank you.”

Overall, the 21st Century Cures Act provides the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with a fully offset $4.8 billion to help advance the Precision Medicine Initiative, bolster Vice President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” and invest in the BRAIN initiative.

Please see below for key provisions in 21st Century Cures that were introduced or cosponsored by Bilirakis:

  • Section 2061 – National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System. Bilirakis was a lead cosponsor on this provision to create a national data collection system for neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which would help develop better treatments.
  • Section 3013 – Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis. This provision, also cosponsored by Bilirakis, would reform the nation’s mental health system by improving federal mental health programs and expanding access to treatment.
  • Section 3088 – Clarifying Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization. Bilirakis worked closely on this provision to allow the FDA to allow the emergency use of animal drug products to fight public health emergencies such as Zika or new strains of animal-based pandemic flu.

The final version of this legislation passed the House by a vote of 392-26, and is expected to be considered by the Senate next week. 

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