Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Feb. 4 introduced the Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 744), which seeks to increase funding for medical research.
The legislation would require large pharmaceutical companies that break the law and settle with the federal government to reinvest a small percentage of their profits into the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Senate version of the bill was introduced Jan. 29 by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
Meanwhile, Reps. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), David Loebsack (D-Iowa), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), and Raul Ruiz, M.D., (D-Calif.) Feb. 5 introduced the Permanent Investment in Health Research Act (H.R. 777), which would make NIH funding mandatory instead of subjecting the agency to the annual discretionary appropriations process.
In a press release, Rep. Castor said, “We will only save lives if we can robustly fund medical research in America and keep America as a world leader. Today, funding for medical research is discretionary and at the mercy of the budget battles in Congress. This harms momentum towards cures and creates economic uncertainty.”
Rep. Butterfield added the bill “ensures that regardless of the political climate medical research will be considered as a non-discretionary program, guaranteeing funding, jobs, and scientific advancement.”