21st Century Cures

February 23, 2015

What is 21st Century Cures?

Beginning in April 2014 the Congressional Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C Committee) took a comprehensive look at how our nation develops cures—from discover to development to delivery.  The COPD Foundation was a key part of this process participating in committee meetings, providing testimony, and ensuring COPD patient voices in roundtable discussions across the country.  After a year of discussions the both Republicans and Democrats on the E&C Committee have agreed to take “bold action to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments and cures for patients and to maintain our nation’s standing as the biomedical innovation capital of the world.”

The 21st Century Cures is a bipartisan initiative being lead by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C Committee) with the purpose of evaluating how our nation discovers, develops, and delivers therapies and treatments.

21st Century Cures legislation will focus on five key areas:
1. Incorporating patient perspectives into the regulatory process and help address their unmet medical needs
2. Building the foundation for 21st century medicine
3. Streamlining clinical trials
4. Supporting continued innovation at our federal public health agencies
5. Modernizing medical product regulation

Why is 21st Century Cures Important?

One of primary reasons treatments and medications can be so expensive is because of the significant cost related to research and development.  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) it takes “around 14 years and $2 billion or more” to develop new drugs and “more than 95 percent of [such] drugs fail during development”.  A more streamlined research and development process will lower the cost of therapies making them more accessible to patients. 

Legislation included in 21st Century Cures that would have directly impact COPD patients include:

  • Awarding new grants for research into whether previously approved therapies could be repurposed to treat different condition or diseases. 
  •  Encouraging the development and approval of new antibiotics
  • Improved review and regulatory processes for medical devices
  • Streamlined clinical trials to get cures into the hands of patients faster

How can I help? 

The COPD Foundation has been working closely with Congress to provide a patient voice and will continue to work with all stakeholders on the important initiative.  As 21st Century Cures moves through the legislative process we will keep the COPD community informed and engaged.  Sign up for the COPD Action Network to be notified when we need you to speak out for 21st Century Cures and for all of the COPD policy we are working on.  To learn more about 21st Century Cures, click here.