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Delays Cost Lives

Dear Research Advocate,

A year ago this week, the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. (outside of a clinical trial). Tragically, more than 800,000 individuals have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, but an estimated 1.1 million lives in the U.S. have been saved because of the accelerated vaccination effort. The unprecedented feat of developing a vaccine in less than 12 months demonstrates the incredible power of research coupled with public health rigor and vigilance. We need more of both, without delay. 

Just the Facts: In pandemic response, the knowledge gained from real-time public health response and ongoing research (when that knowledge isn’t exploited for political or individual gain) drives progress. We continue to update our vaccine tracker, which provides timely information on COVID-19 vaccine development and use.  

One powerful way to form or build relationships with your representatives in Congress is providing information their staff can use to respond to constituent questions. Use this sample email to share our vaccine tracker with your representatives in the House and Senate

On the Hill: This week, Members of Congress came together on a rock-solid, bipartisan basis to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—at $24 billion more than the President’s request. Clearly the nation’s elected representatives can align to advance top priorities. Science & technology belong squarely in that category. It is critical for Congress to complete Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations to advance life-saving, prosperity-boosting science & technology, and to do so without delay.  

It has been 76 days and counting since the date a forward-thinking budget should have replaced the outdated budget our government is operating under. DO NOT STOP ADVOCATING FOR ACTION. Repetition is – you’ve heard this before – a pillar of successful advocacy.  

FDA Commissioner: The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be FDA Commissioner. We sent a letter like this one to every member of the committee following the hearing, thanking them for taking action on the nomination and urging a committee vote without delay. 

During the hearing, Dr. Califf committed to working collaboratively to “turn the tide” in the nation’s epidemic of addiction and overdose. If you have not yet had an opportunity, take a minute to read and share our Opioids: The Epidemic Within the Pandemic overview. At first insidious and now voracious, the opioid epidemic simply must be stopped. 

Celebrating Dr. Collins: As Dr. Francis Collins closes out his last week as NIH Director, the NIH celebrated his 12-year tenure in this critical role. It was a privilege to join more than 100 of Dr. Collin’s countless admirers —from Lionel Richie to George W. Bush to Jane Goodall to the Dalai Lama—in sharing videos for the occasion. An NIH commemorative page hosts a farewell interview with Dr. Collins and the tribute videos. 

Alliance Member Meeting Recap: This week, Dr. Lee A. Fleisher, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), joined us for a conversation about the Center’s use of such implementation science tools as health services and social sciences research to save lives threatened by the pandemic. Dr. Fleisher also reaffirmed CMS’ commitment to maximizing the efficiency of its coverage decisions following FDA approval of medical devices and medicines. 

At the end of the meeting, Capitol Hill veteran Pete Kirkham joined us for a look at what to expect in Congress over the coming months. Hear from both of these terrific speakers.  

PDUFA Preview: Don’t miss our alliance meeting this coming Monday, December 20, at 1 p.m. ET. The FDA Prescription Drug User Fee Act — legislation that receives far too little attention given its impact on the nature and pace of medical progress — is up for reauthorization in 2022. We are thrilled Steven Grossman, Executive Director of Alliance for a Stronger FDA, and Brent Del Monte, Principal at BGR Group, are joining us to review the timing and the issues in play for PDUFA’s 6th reauthorization. 

Become a Research!American!: Our Careers page lists several openings, with more to come. Please spread the word and share this link



Mary Woolley