House Approves 21st Century Cures Act; Senate Still Working on Its Version

By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures Act, which stands advance big data and precision medicine and strengthen the National Institutes of Health and FDA.

By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures Act by a vote of 344-77. The bipartisan healthcare legislation was introduced by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX).

More than 700 groups have expressed their support for the bill, which originated from the Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21st Century Cures initiative, launched more than 1 year ago by Upton and DeGette. The groups encompass patient advocacy, rare disease groups, cancer centers, technology groups, universities, biopharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, and more.

“Today, we took a big leap on the path to cures, but we still have much work left to do,” the bill’s authors said in a statement. “The 344 votes today should be a springboard for action. On to the Senate.”

The Senate is currently working on its own bill that likely won’t go up for a vote until the fall, but no later than December, according to The Hill.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) applauded the passage of the legislation. The bill advances big data and precision medicine, which have the potential to improve cancer treatment, strengthens the National Institutes of Health, and includes reforms to speed up FDA review process.

"The U.S. House of Representatives has passed monumental legislation that will accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments to people living with cancer,” ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, said in a statement.

The National MS Society also lauded the passage of the bill, which the society believes will help better gather data on people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) to better investigate new treatments.

Cyndi Zagieboylo

"The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act would bring us one step closer to resolving the mystery of MS," , president and chief executive officer of the National MS Society, said in a statement. "By dedicating additional resources and creating new systems, the medical community will be better poised to make new discoveries to help people with MS live their best lives."