Senate vote clears way for 21st Century Cures Act

WASHINGTON — The 21st Century Cures Act, which speeds up approval of medical devices and drugs and sets up a sweeping medical research framework for everything from Alzheimer’s disease to opioid addiction, passed the last technical barrier to adoption in the U.S. Senate Monday.

The bill is now assured an overwhelming approval vote and the president’s signature in the days to come.

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House Just Passed the Biggest Health Reform Bill Since Obamacare

The House of Representatives on Wednesday night overwhelmingly passed wide-ranging legislation meant to overhaul the drug approval process, boost biomedical research, and many other significant health-related policies. The so-called 21st Century Cures Act was approved on a 392-26 vote and will head to the Senate for consideration next week.

The bill aims to speed up the approval for drugs and medical devices through a variety of tweaks to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But it also encompasses a host of other big initiatives, including more than $5 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and money to help the FDA; $1 billion for tackling the opioid epidemic; and provisions that are meant to help pair Americans who suffer from serious mental illnesses with available psychiatric beds.

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Cell therapy reversed blindness for 47,000 patients in 2015. So why is it against the law?

As medical miracles go, restoring sight to the blind is right up there. A mother seeing her baby for the first time, or a child being able to count the stars is a beautiful gift, and its value cannot be overstated. Last year 47,000 Americans received that gift and had their blindness reversed through the transplantation of cells from a corneal donor’s final selfless act.

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