21st Century Cures Act Seen as a Big Boost to Big Pharma

The House approved it by a 392 to 26 vote.

The 21st Century Cures Act, aimed at expediting the research and use of new medicines, passed the House of Representatives by a 392 to 26 vote Monday. The Cures Act, which is expected to pass the Senate as well, remains controversial despite its surprising bipartisan support.

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Drug companies and medical device manufacturers are seen as the big winners here. Major opponents, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, raise concerns about the power of the big pharmaceutical companies that lobbied heavily for the bill. “Scientists who invent new cures should be celebrated, along with the companies that support then,” she said in a recent floor speech. “But let me be perfectly clear. While the drug industry may get a seat at the the table, they do not own the table.”

The Cures Act would give $1 billion in state grants to address the opioid crisis and provide $4.8 billion over 10 years to fund research by the National Institutes of Health. But it also cuts $3.5 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund — a fund established under Obamacare to address chronic illnesses and potentially preventable diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.