Senators Warren & Markey Sponsoring Bill To Invest $100 Billion in Medical Research, Disease Prevention, & Treatments at NIH and FDA

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In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office. She was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. She is a Democrat.

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Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reintroduced the National Biomedical Research Act, a bill to provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with $100 billion in predictable, supplemental funding for biomedical research over the next 10 years.

Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are original cosponsors.

Federal investments in biomedical research are critical to the development of breakthrough and innovative therapies, drugs, and devices. Years of federally-funded research at NIH, for example, underpinned the mRNA technology critical to the development of COVID-19 vaccines, making it possible for private companies to produce vaccine candidates in record time. But the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted biomedical research across the U.S.

To help build back from the pandemic, and following President Biden’s calls for bold investments in NIH, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Clarke are re-introducing the National Biomedical Research Act, which would create the Biomedical Innovation Fund, a new federal funding stream of $10 billion per year for select initiatives at the NIH and FDA. 

“Now more than ever, we need my bill with Congresswoman Clarke to ensure the federal government fully invests in the medical breakthroughs in disease prevention, diagnoses, and cures to help counter future outbreaks and to allow everyone to receive the best treatments available,” said Senator Warren. “It is critical to support researchers throughout the Commonwealth and across the country as our nation continues to push through the coronavirus pandemic.”

“I am proud to partner with Senator Warren to reintroduce the National Biomedical Research Act. This legislation would provide researchers with the vital resources they need to continue diagnosing, treating, and preventing a myriad of diseases – many of which disproportionately impact communities of color. We must always remember sufficiently funding medical research is paramount to the health and safety of the American public,” said Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09). “Re-establishing our commitment to supporting scientists and doctors dramatically improves their ability to safeguard our communities against the devastating effects of health care disparities.  Let me be clear: this legislation is an opportunity to protect American families proactively, and I believe it is incumbent on us, as members of Congress, to ensure it happens.”

The Biomedical Research Fund would supplement yearly appropriations for:

  • Basic Research: research on the underlying basis of disease to better address disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment;
  • Disruptive Innovation: breakthrough research on diseases with unmet medical needs or for which current treatments are limited, inadequate, or burdensome;
  • Addressing Burdensome Diseases: research on chronic, degenerative diseases that disproportionately contribute to spending under Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, or the Veterans Health Administration;
  • Early Career Scientists: grants to young scientists and research institutions supporting these scientists, which lead to earlier research independence and enhance employment opportunities in America;
  • Improving Diversity: research conducted by investigators from traditionally underrepresented groups, research in labs of varying sizes, and research at institutions in states that could improve the geographic diversity of funding;
  • Regulatory Science: research to improve the predictability, consistency, and efficiency of the review of medical products and regulatory decision-making; and
  • Medical Product Surveillance: the development, regulatory review, and postmarket surveillance of new medical products.

The legislation makes clear that the Biomedical Innovation Fund should supplement, not supplant, existing appropriations for NIH and FDA. Funds would only be available during years when Congress increases discretionary appropriations for NIH and FDA, thus ensuring that funding for medical research never falls below Fiscal Year 2022 levels. Predictability of funding will create stability for an increasingly diverse group of researchers and will accelerate the pace of medical advancements. 

The National Biomedical Research Act has been endorsed by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Society for Behavioral Medicine, National Alopecia Areata Foundation, Mended Hearts/Mended Little Hearts, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The AIDS Institute, United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, Neurofibromatosis Northeast, Association for Clinical Oncology, Infectious Disease Society of America, National Brain Tumor Society, American Heart Association, Fenway Health, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, amfAR, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, and National Down Syndrome Society.

Senator Warren first introduced a version of the National Biomedical Research Act in 2016, and later in 2017.

In 2019, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Clarke reintroduced the legislation.

Read the text of the Bill here.

editor

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