President Obama yesterday signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, the last step for the bill which has been 2 years in the making.
Last week, the U.S. Senate voted 94-5 to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which sent the measure to President Barack Obama.
The U.S. House voted to pass the healthcare measure by a vote of 392-26 last week. Supporters of the bill say it will spur medical innovation by speeding up the regulatory process for device-makers and pharmaceutical companies, while expanding access to mental health treatment and battle the ongoing opioid epidemic. But critics, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), have said the bill gives hand-outs to the pharmaceutical industries and cuts public health programs.
The $6.3 billion measure was sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and authorizes $4.8 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $500 million to the FDA. The bill includes provisions which allow clinical trials for devices and drugs to be designed with fewer patients and simpler goals.
“It is wonderful to see how well Democrats and Republicans in the closing days of this Congress came together around a common cause. I think it indicates the power of this issue and how deeply it touches every family across America,” Obama said at the signing.
The bill included $1.8 billion in funding for Vice President Joseph Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative to improve cancer research by encouraging collaboration and reducing the bureaucracy.