NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Caution: 21st Century Cures Act Has Suspicious Payment Plan

July 9, 2015

The House of Representatives is scheduled this week to consider the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), a health policy bill designed to improve the economic incentives and streamline the process for inventing new medicines.

Because it can take as long as 12 to 15 years for the Food and Drug Administration to approve a new medicine, companies with innovative new drug therapies are often left with only five to eight years of effective patent life.  Hindering the profitability of new pharmaceuticals can dissuade companies from researching and developing new, life-saving drug therapies, says Allen B. West, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and senior fellow John R. Graham.


The 21st Century Cures Act will go a long way to solving the crisis in pharmaceutical innovation by:

  • Improving FDA efficiency by breaking down outdated barriers.
  • Removing the regulatory uncertainty surrounding modern health-related tools like smartphone medical apps.
  • Creating incentives for companies to develop drug therapies for rare or dormant diseases.
  • Boosting support for innovative new forms of medicine, like personalized medicine and biopharmaceuticals.

However, H.R. 6 proposes new mandatory spending to pay for the National Institutes of Health and the Cures Innovation Fund. The new mandatory spending bypasses the discretionary spending caps and will add almost $2 billion per year to our nation's already-bloated mandatory spending obligations. This is unwise. Worse, it is irresponsible.

In spite of the good public policy contained in the 21st Century Cures Act, one must take caution against the mandatory funding mechanism that the bill creates. Nevertheless, Congress should seriously consider the policies contained in H.R. 6 as a way to improve pharmaceutical innovation in particular and the nation's health care system in general.

Source: Allen B. West and John R. Graham, "Caution: 21st Century Cures Act Has Suspicious Payment Plan," Investor's Business Daily, July 6, 2015.


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