Today, ASCO sent a letter to all Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging a “Yes” vote on the 21st Century Cures Act, which would help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising treatments to patients. ASCO has been a strong supporter of the legislation, and weighed in heavily throughout the legislative process to provide guidance and support key provisions of the bill. The House is expected to vote on the 21st Century Cures Act on Wednesday, November 30th, with the Senate hoping to pass the legislation later this week or next.
In the letter, ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, writes that “It is more important than ever to realize the potential that big data and precision medicine have to offer in new treatments to patients, and this legislation will help in that effort. Many provisions in this legislation will help move toward rapid development and dissemination of these important advances.”
The landmark legislation includes important provisions for which ASCO has advocated, including those that:
- Increase the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) and prevent the practice of intentional information blocking to make it easier to share patient health information for care coordination and research.
- Provide much-needed supplemental funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to support critical cancer research.
- Accelerate the pace of clinical trials research in the United States by requiring the use of centralized Institutional Review Boards and encouraging data standardization.
- Bring the patient-voice into the drug development process by using vital input and experience data from patients to create a full risk-benefit analysis of any new treatment.
The legislation, which ASCO is urging Congress to see to final passage, also includes funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which responds to the nation’s opioid epidemic.
As Congress wraps up its legislative work for the year, ASCO will continue to engage with Congress and federal agencies on important cancer policy issues. In particular, ASCO is monitoring debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government into early 2017. In addition, ASCO is continuing to urge the Administration to withdraw the flawed Medicare Part B demo.
Please continue to read ASCO in Action for the latest news on cancer policy.