Proclaiming “this is a time of unprecedented opportunity to employ the fruits of scientific discovery to transform health care both in the United States and globally,” the AAMC March 18 submitted “preliminary thoughts” to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on its 21st Century Cures discussion document, released Jan. 27.
The letter, signed by AAMC Chief Science Officer Ann Bonham, Ph.D., thanks and commends the committee “for convening an extensive series of hearings and roundtables, both in Washington and across the country, to explore the opportunities for and obstacles to accelerating the pace of discovery and translating this knowledge into novel therapeutics and prevention strategies for the benefit of all Americans.”
The association acknowledges the discussion draft “reflects the committee’s initial attempts to address a wide range of research-related issues that emerged during the hearings and roundtables” and applauds “the transparent and inclusive approach to this process.”
However, the letter expresses concern “that the lack of a unifying vision for re-energizing the nation’s medical research enterprise weakens this document…. This piecemeal approach is at odds with the stated needs for addressing the research enterprise as a whole and for a more strategic approach to research funding and oversight.”
The AAMC urges the committee, as it develops the next draft of the legislation, to ensure that:
- The bill presents a comprehensive vision for funding and regulation of medical research;
- Any revised oversight or regulation of research serves to facilitate the research enterprise, not tie the hands of the agencies or researchers;
- Current ongoing efforts to improve and harmonize the regulatory environment for research are encouraged and supported, not hampered;
- Federal agencies working to realize the vision of 21st Century Cures are provided with sufficient funding to accomplish their goals, appropriated in a predictable and timely manner that allows for strategic planning;
- Patients are more engaged in all aspects of the biomedical research enterprise; and
- Federal policies enhance the preparation of the 21st Century biomedical research workforce.