Modernizing Health Care for Eastern Washington’s Patients

May 21, 2015
Health Care
Press

“This initiative will help our scientists, our job creators, and our patients.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) praised the Energy and Commerce Committee’s unanimous approval of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which will help to modernize and personalize health care, encourage greater innovation, support research, and streamline the system to deliver better, faster cures to more patients.

The 21st Century Cures Act is driven by the work done by people in their communities, in Eastern Washington and all across America. This week, McMorris Rodgers testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Just recently, I hosted a 21st Century Cures Roundtable in Spokane, Washington – where we heard from some of the country’s preeminent leaders in biotechnology, pharmacology, and medical research – and I was reminded that the Pacific Northwest – and the United States – are at the forefront of medical innovation across the globe,” McMorris Rodgers said.  

This legislation will accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments and cures. “There is hope for the 5 million people in this country who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease,” McMorris Rodgers said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the 21st Century Cures Act 51-0.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:

Energy and Commerce Committee 21st Century Cures Opening Statement

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

“Good evening – and thank you to Chairman Upton for your leadership on this bipartisan initiative, and for your unending commitment to improving people’s lives. Your leadership extends far beyond this Committee room, Mr. Chairman – it extends into doctor’s offices and hospital rooms and homes across America. For the parents whose son was diagnosed with Autism; for that double amputee waiting on a new prosthetic; and for the 58-year old woman who just came home with breast cancer – this initiative is for them.

Just recently, I hosted a 21st Century Cures Roundtable in Spokane, Washington – where we heard from some of the country’s preeminent leaders in biotechnology, pharmacology, and medical research – and I was reminded that the Pacific Northwest – and the United States – are at the forefront of medical innovation across the globe.

The 21st Century Cures Initiative ensures that we will remain that leader. So thank you – to the Chairman and to my colleagues on this Committee – for making that happen.

I’d like to begin tonight by highlighting an advancement that really embodies the work we’re all doing here – and it’s Biogen’s experimental Alzheimer’s treatment that was just recently announced.  I mention this on the heels of a meeting I had with Spokane’s representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association – some of whom face a future of a disease without a cure.  So when I see things like Biogen’s cutting-edge drug – which identifies and reduces the brain plaque thought to cause Alzheimer’s by over 70%! – it reminds me that there IS hope for the 5 million people in this country who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  By identifying and treating the underlying causes of specific diseases, we can prevent them from happening altogether. And that’s just the beginning.

The objective of our bipartisan 21st Century Cures Initiative is to accelerate the discovery and development of new treatments and cures – and ensure that America remains the leader of the global innovation economy. This initiative will help our scientists, our job creators, and most important: our patients. But we can only change that trajectory by changing our outlook. It begins by embracing an open, bottom-up approach to changing the status quo – and eliminating the cumbersome regulations that so often stymie scientific research and development.

We recognize that the government can’t do it all.  And when it tries to do it all, it fails the millions of people who are waiting on new treatments and therapies to survive.

I’d like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for including six of my bills in the final package – bills that modernize HIPAA laws, accelerate the discovery of new cures, create research consortia to treat pediatric disorders, and bring our regulatory framework into the 21st century. It’s imperative for patients to be heard when it comes to the treatments that affect them – which is why part of our initiative incorporates PROs – Patient Reported Outcomes – into the drug approval process.

Whether it’s ALS or breast cancer or Down syndrome – our patients’ feedback can significantly improve clinical trials for new drugs. So often we bring drugs to the market when we haven’t conducted risk/benefit analyses on the patients they’re designed to treat.  My legislation will change that.

I’ve also included legislation to expedite the FDA’s approval process for qualifying biomarkers.  In fact, of the 60 biomarkers that have been submitted to the FDA for qualification, only 4 have been validated. The identification of biomarkers is crucial to the development of new clinical therapies.  I certainly appreciate the bipartisan manner in which this package was finalized – and I look forward to working closely on the legislation as it moves to the floor – particularly when it comes to validating biomarkers.

I’ve seen firsthand how every good idea comes from individuals – the medicines that save people’s lives every day for heart disease and cancer and Diabetes all came from individuals who discovered something life-changing and pursued it. So I thank you ALL for joining me in the fight to promote medical innovation and save lives because of it. To me, there is no cause more noble than this.”

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