Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: #CRsStopProgress

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

Congress has five weeks to reach an agreement on full-year FY20 funding levels before the current stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) expires on November 21, 2019. House spending leaders sent their Senate counterparts new totals for the 12 annual appropriations bills, but word is, negotiations on those topline amounts are far from over and concerns are mounting that Congress could resort to another short-term CR. 

CRs are the enemy of medical and public health progress: consider the recent NIH-supported finding that the artificial pancreas system controls blood glucose levels better than current technology in patients with Type 1 diabetes or promising results in treating liver disease in people with HIV from another NIH-supported study. How many equally important developments to improve patient care will be slowed down by short-term, stop-gap, uncertain federal funding?  

I simply cannot emphasize strongly enough that all of us who care about research have a responsibility to weigh in against another CR. Please join our #CRsStopProgress email and social media campaign. Let’s make sure our voices are heard, and the current CR is the last one! 

While uncertain federal funding continues to put medical innovation at risk, the 21st Century Cures bill enacted in 2017 is leading to promising developments. The FDA recently approved a rapid diagnostic test for the Ebola virus. The test was granted Breakthrough Device designation, a program established under the 21st Century Cures Act.

Another recent example of 21st Century Cures in action comes from the NIH and the steps it is taking to improve researchers’ access to high quality patient data. NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Mike Lauer explained in a recent blog that the agency wants to hear from the research community about making patient data more interoperable and specifically, how NIH-funded researchers could adopt the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard. Comments are due by November 23, 2019. 

We’ve reported earlier that the lead authors of 21st Century Cures, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) are working on a follow-on bill. Our alliance meeting on October 25 will focus on an exchange of ideas by alliance members for potential consideration in the legislation. Please contact Jacqueline (jlagoy@researchamerica.org) to RSVP.  

Our fact sheet series is a popular section of our website and they are regularly updated. Our newest factsheet about Multiple Sclerosis is now available. Let us know how you are using them in your work by emailing Anna at aplatt@researchamerica.org

Join us for a Capitol Hill briefing on October 24, 2019, “Leading the Charge Against Antimicrobial Resistance.” Experts from the CDC, American Society of Microbiology, AdvaMedDx, and BD will discuss the crucial role of antibiotic stewardship to address the growing resistance threat. You can register here.   

Sincerely,

 

Mary Woolley

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco