Committee Builds Upon Record of Success, Advances Three Bipartisan Bills To Improve Public Health

June 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today advanced three bipartisan bills that have moved through the Subcommittee on Health, building on a proven record of success on public health issues. The committee advanced H.R. 4299, the Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act, H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, and H.R. 4631, the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act. Each of these bills was approved by a voice vote.

Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) noted that these bills collectively “demonstrate the continued bipartisan accomplishments of the Health Subcommittee and their efforts to come together to improve the public health and safety of all Americans.”

H.R. 4299, introduced by Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to improve efficiency, transparency, and consistency of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s process for scheduling new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Pitts commented, “Ultimately, this will allow new and innovative treatments to get to patients who desperately need them faster.” Pitts went on to explain that, “H.R. 4299 simply requires DEA to issue an Interim Final Rule 45 days after it receives FDA’s scheduling recommendation for a new drug, allowing patients access to new therapies 45 days after FDA approval. … This bill also establishes a timeline for DEA to grant approval of manufacturers’ applications to register controlled substances, not yet approved by FDA, to be used in clinical trials, allowing companies to properly plan clinical trial schedules for prospective new therapies. This provision will get products to the market faster because innovators will be able to get clinical trials underway in a timely and predictable way; which is critical to drug developers and patients alike.”

H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access to Effective Drug Enforcement Act, was introduced by full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Judy Chu (D-CA). This bill would improve efforts regarding prescription drug diversion and abuse. Blackburn commented, “Congress and this committee has a responsibility to make sure that the law is crystal clear for both DEA and legitimate businesses who want to understand what the rules are so they can do the right thing. This bill will ensure that everyone is on the same page. We also require a report which will give government, public policy, and industry the ability to collaborate and provide recommendations to Congress on initiatives to reduce prescription drug diversion and abuse.”

Finally, H.R. 4631, introduced by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Michael Doyle (D-PA), would extend the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 to continue federal research, early identification and intervention, and education related to autism as well as the activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. The committee also approved an amendment to this bill that reflects a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. Upon offering it, Upton said, “The amendment changes the title of the bill to the ‘Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act of 2014.’ It also asks the Secretary of Health and Human Services in coordination with the Secretary of Education to collaborate with the Secretary of Transportation, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and the Attorney General to prepare and submit a report concerning young adults with autism spectrum disorder and the challenges related to their transition to adulthood.” 

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