Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Now is the Time for 21st Century Cures

July 20, 2015
The Pearland Journal
July 20, 2015

Over a year ago, leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee asked: how can we accelerate American medical innovation and bring cures to more patients across the country? This month, the House answered that question by overwhelmingly passing H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. This critical, bipartisan bill will make needed reforms and spur medical innovation to make a real difference in people's lives.

The path to cures began with policy makers traveling across America to hear from scientists and researchers about the current climate of medical research and how Congress can help spur innovation. We went straight to the source because we know that tomorrow's life-saving cures come from the innovators in the medical field, not through top-down orders from Washington bureaucrats. 

Houston is home to some of the best medical minds in the world. Our world-class doctors, scientists and research institutions lead the world in medical innovations and scientific breakthroughs. That's why last fall, Rep. Gene Green and I hosted a listening session with experts from the Texas Medical Center to gather input from patients, researchers, medical professionals, and advocates on the best path forward.

While health research is advancing, the medical product approval rate and federal funding for medical research are declining. Medical experts have raised concerns over cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), each cut brings innovation stagnation. Dedicated scientists are diligently working at NIH, but current investments and regulations don't allow them to keep pace with needed discoveries.

There are 10,000 known diseases, but treatments for only 500 of them. The 21st Century Cures Act develops important reforms to streamline the process, encourage greater innovation, support research, and deliver better, faster cures to more patients. It makes needed investments in new technology to help ensure that treatments reach patients as quickly as possible in order to save more lives.

Every American knows someone suffering from a terrible disease such as cancer, Alzheimer's, or heart disease. The innovation and technological advances that result from 21st Century Cures will bring hope to patients and their families that new and better treatments are just on the horizon.

I'm proud to serve on the committee that passed commonsense legislation that will help millions of Americans for years to come. The House passed this legislation by an overwhelming vote of 344-71, sending a strong message to the Senate to act. As a nation, we need to invest in innovation and in the well-being of Americans for generations to come. Now is the time for action, for innovation, and for 21st Century Cures.