Costello: Cures Act brings hope, innovation to Southeast PA
For families across Southeastern Pennsylvania, the fight to find a cure for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, or rare diseases like Batten disease, is urgent and real. Whether fighting through debilitating treatments or simply trying to make ends meet, it’s a fight against time and one that impacts us all.
This week, after a multi-year effort led by long-time champions, including my neighbor and colleague, Congressman Joe Pitts, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark bipartisan legislation to spur research, fuel discovery, and offer hope to countless families across Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Cures Act will serve as the catalyst for change and medical innovation that families have demanded for years. It will direct new resources to help in the fight to find new treatments and therapies – notably targeting resources to fight those diseases that do not yet have a cure and require an individual focus. It will improve medical research, put patients at the center of the review process, reform the delivery of mental healthcare, and fight the opioid epidemic.
In particular, this legislation would provide significant, targeted funding to the National Institutes for Health for research initiatives, to states to improve opioid abuse prevention and treatment by strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs, and to the Food and Drug Administration to streamline the drug and medical device approval process. Much needed mental health reforms are also part of the bill – empowering patients and caregivers through improved communications with providers, ensuring a skilled mental health workforce by encouraging students to choose careers in mental health, and by supporting best mental health practices that have proven to be effective – just to name a few.
For our region, Cures will also bring job certainty to job creators and help keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of medical innovation. Southeastern Pennsylvania has a strong life sciences industry, where Pennsylvanians are already making cutting edge discoveries at good-paying jobs.
The 21st Century Cures Act is an example of a constituent-driven solution. The bill has been in the works for years and there has been immense input from doctors, patients, researchers, and advocates. This legislation has garnered broad bipartisan support, as both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, as well as the White House, have announced their backing of the Cures Act.
Congress has a responsibility to ensure resources are available and innovation is harnessed to defeat yet-incurable diseases. Our families and communities will become healthier because of Cures - this is due in large measure to the leadership of my colleague and neighbor, Congressman Joe Pitts. As the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, Congressman Pitts gave a voice to the concerns of the Southeastern Pennsylvania families he represents. Joe Pitts’ pioneering leadership on the Cures Act is one example of the extraordinary legacy of accomplishment and leadership he has provided Chester County and our country over the past two-plus decades.
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen