Robert Hurt: House adopts landmark biomedical research bill

robert hurtFor decades, the United States has been a world leader in the scientific efforts to treat and cure diseases and conditions that harm millions of people.  The last 125 years in particular have seen rapid breakthroughs in the developments of vaccines and antidotes that have dramatically increased life expectancies for people across the globe.  From smallpox to polio to tuberculosis, life-saving innovations developed by scientists and doctors are not only an incredible public health benefit, but biomedical research also generates economic activity.

Look no further than Charlottesville, where University of Virginia researchers and clinicians have developed hundreds of treatments and therapies over the years, and a significant biomedical research industry has emerged in the surrounding community.  Virginia’s Fifth District is home to dozens of such enterprises, and institutions and businesses across the Commonwealth are contributing to the creation of a variety of life-saving applications every day.

Unfortunately, I often hear from academic and private sector researchers that while our country has made significant investments in this research to great benefit, too often our innovators and researchers are bogged down by regulatory impediments that make it harder for patients to experience the full benefits of their work.  Federal drug and device approval processes are far too outdated to keep up with the speed of innovation, which ultimately hurts patients who are in urgent need of new treatments.

This past week, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act by a 392-26 margin.  First passed by the House of July 10 of last year, this updated bill will advance new therapies by modernizing clinical trials and the means by which safety and efficacy data is accumulated and analyzed, put patients at the heart of the regulatory review process, and streamline regulations to provide more clarity and consistency for innovators developing health devices, software, vaccines, and regenerative medicine therapies. The Cures Act is a much-needed modernization effort which will allow the latest technologies and medical advancements to be more widely available and ensure that we are getting most bang for our research buck.

I was proud to vote for this impactful legislation, which is expected to pass the Senate and be signed by the President before the end of the year. This bill will bring our health care innovation infrastructure into the 21st Century, providing hope for patients and providing necessary resources to researchers to continue their efforts to uncover the next generation of cures and treatments.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, or our Danville office: (434) 791-2596.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.

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