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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis: “This is One of the Best Things Congress has Done”

July 10, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Representative Gus Bilirakis, member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today voted in favor of H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House by a vote of 344 – 77. This bill includes a number of provisions authored or supported by Representative Bilirakis.

“We have a serious problem in America – too many diseases, and not enough treatments or cures. It has been 75 years, and there is no cure for ALS. Of the 7,000 rare diseases in this country, over 95% have no approved cures or treatments. We are falling behind, and it is hurting Americans living with a rare or chronic condition. Today, we have taken a huge step forward in bipartisan fashion. The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act is one of the best things Congress has done in a very long time,” Bilirakis said.

“This bill will help millions of Americans. My initiative, the OPEN Act, has been included in the 21st Century Cures Act. The OPEN Act will help ensure the 30 million Americans living with a rare disease have safe and effective medications for their condition,” continued Bilirakis. “Helping people is why I came to Washington, and I am proud to have been a part of such historic legislation.

Representative Bilirakis’ provisions in the legislation include:

  • The OPEN Act, a bill to incentivize drugmakers and innovators to “repurpose” major market drugs for life-threatening rare diseases and pediatric cancers, opening the door to the development of hundreds of safe, effective, and affordable treatments for rare disease patients.
  • A provision based on H.R. 2298, the Medicare Patient Safety and Drug Abuse Prevention Act, to establish a drug management program, which prevents high-risk beneficiaries from abusing controlled substances. This drug management program will monitor the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances for at-risk beneficiaries to prevent prescription drug abuse and drug diversion. It is a commonsense measure utilized by private industry, TRICARE, and state Medicaid programs;
  • A provision based on H.R. 2299, the Medicare Site of Service Price Transparency Act, to provide seniors with transparency in Medicare Parts A and B, by allowing seniors to better identify the out of pocket costs they might face for a given treatment or service, and site of services that is right for them and their budgets; and

Representative Bilirakis is also an original cosponsor of a provision, authored by Representative Burgess, which would create a national data collection system for neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. Nearly 1 million people in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease, and better data would pave the path to better treatments. Representative Bilirakis is the Co-Chair of the Parkinson’s Caucus, and Parkinson’s Action Network has endorsed this provision