The House today voted 344-77 to approve the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 6. The legislation is intended to overhaul drug development.
Among other provisions, the bill would provide $1.75 billion per year for the National Institutes of Health and $110 million per year for the Food and Drug Administration through a five-year, fully offset fund for biomedical research and innovation.
In a letter to leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee before the vote, the AHA commended the committee for its efforts to find better ways to accelerate the discovery of new cures and improve innovation, but expressed concern with certain provisions aimed at ensuring interoperability of health information technology.
“While we appreciate the positive changes made to the interoperability provisions and elsewhere in this legislation, the enforcement provisions in Section 3001 still rely on fraud and abuse mechanisms that will result in unfair sanctions to hospitals and other providers,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “The bill also includes an overly broad definition of ‘information blocking’ that would result in penalties for providers’ reasonable business practices and beneficial modifications to information technology systems that improve patient care.”