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Applauding passage of 21st Century Cures Act

Bill accelerates new treatments for diseases and brings further attention to tick-borne illnesses

Bill accelerates new treatments for diseases and brings further attention to tick-borne illnesses

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree today praised the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that would modernize and streamline the medical innovation process with the goal of accelerating the discovery of treatments for thousands of diseases that currently have no cure.

“Today is an important milestone for the many people in Maine and across the country who are battling incurable diseases. For years, I have met constituents with cancer, muscular dystrophy, ALS, and other devastating illnesses who are anxiously awaiting medical breakthroughs,” said Pingree.  “The 21st Century Cures Act offers them and others new hope by providing the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration with increased resources to discover and evaluate treatments more quickly.  While I am thrilled to see this truly bipartisan effort pass on the House floor with new funding, there is still more to be done.  I continue to hope that Republican leadership makes it a priority to undo harmful sequestration cuts that have kept NIH and FDA from working at full capacity.” 

The legislation, H.R. 6, also includes the text of a bill introduced by Representative Chris Gibson of New York that would create a federal workgroup on tick-borne illnesses to include patients and patient advocates.  The bill also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a strategic plan that specifically addresses the long-term impacts of Lyme Disease. Pingree is a member of the Lyme Disease Caucus, and has cosponsored similar legislation to create a tick-borne disease advisory committee.

“Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are on the rise in Maine and across the northeast United States, but there is still a great deal we don’t know about them—particularly why some people continue to have debilitating symptoms even after being treated with antibiotics,” said Pingree. “The creation of this workgroup is an important first step in bringing more federal attention and resources to addressing the problem, and I hope my colleagues in the Senate will include it when they pass their own version of a 21st Century Cures bill."

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