A landmark piece of federal legislation may get a makeover in the new year.
Reps. Diana DeGette and Fred Upton, who authored the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016, announced last year their intention to update the bill in 2020.
“Patients from across the country continually remind us that a modernized system of developing new cures will require a modernized health care delivery system,” the members of Congress noted in a statement. They called the bill’s second iteration an opportunity to “modernize coverage and improve access to life-saving cures.”
The new bill also offers a chance to further improve the clinical trials that yield innovative treatments.
In a letter to Reps. DeGette and Upton, the Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness reiterated how increased public awareness could encourage more robust clinical trials participation, leading to more new treatments. “Clinical trials are critical to medical innovation,” the letter noted, urging legislators to include “a roadmap and policy solution to increase clinical trials awareness” in the updated legislation. A lack of public awareness can handicap clinical trials through low enrollment, hindering medical discovery.
The Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness envisions a federally supported awareness campaign about clinical trials, similar to the well known “Donate Life” organ donation initiative. Through its annual Clinical Trials Awareness Week, the organization has highlighted challenges related to clinical trials enrollment, including the need for age diversity among participants and the burden of participants’ trials-related expenses.
Reps. DeGette and Upton have pinpointed several other topics that may feature in Cures 2.0: the role of digital health technology, the use of real-world evidence and the need to improve coverage so patients can more easily – and more quickly – access life-changing medicine. The duo wrapped up their call for open input on the legislation December 16 and is expected to introduce draft legislation this year.