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  • Washington Highlights

    House, Senate Democrats Reintroduce Biomedical Innovation Fund Proposal


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Dec. 19, 2019, introduced the National Biomedical Research Act (S.3161 / H.R. 5400) to increase funding for targeted biomedical research initiatives through a new, reliable funding stream supporting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    The bill would create a Biomedical Innovation Fund that would provide $10 billion per year for up to 10 years in new funding to NIH and FDA for select initiatives in years when congressional appropriations to the agencies increase. The new fund would supplement not supplant, existing appropriations and create sustainable and predictable funding for the research agencies.

    In a press statement, Sen. Warren noted that the bill would “ensure the Federal Government fully invests in the medical breakthroughs in disease prevention, diagnoses, and cures, to allow everyone receive the best treatments available.”

    Rep. Clarke added that the bill “reestablishes the Federal Government’s commitment to the work of our nation’s medical researchers through proper funding.” She continued, "Our communities cannot thrive without the medical discoveries in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that keep us informed and healthy.”

    The funding would supplement yearly appropriations for seven specific initiatives: basic research, disruptive innovation for diseases with unmet medical needs, burdensome diseases that disproportionately affect certain populations, early career scientists, improving workforce diversity, regulatory science, and medical product surveillance.

    AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, sent a Dec. 13 letter to Sen. Warren, expressing thanks for the legislation, noting that the bill “would provide added stability in funding for innovative medical research to improve the lives of patients and their families.”

    Sen. Warren previously introduced the legislation in 2016 and 2017.