GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A bill that aims to make new medical procedures, treatments and devices available to the people who need them more quickly was the topic of a Thursday conversation at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids.
On the panel were several of VAI’s top researchers, as well as representatives from Mercy Health, the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine and Michigan State’s College of Human Medicine, and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.
Upton’s brainchild, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act would help provide $10 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health as well as streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs and medical devices.
Upton said the measure is about improving quality of life and keeping good jobs here at home.
“This is a bill that expedites the approval of drugs and devices,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “So not only will we find the cures for lupus, cancer, MS (multiple sclerosis), Parkinson’s … because we find those cures and develop them here, the jobs will be here, too. So instead of those jobs going overseas because approvals overseas have been quicker, we’ll find them here and actually manufacture those drugs and devices here.”
That could be a boon for West Michigan, where Pfizer, Stryker and Perrigo have facilities.
After consulting with a number of disease groups, doctors and federal health officials, Upton’s bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and major parts of it have already cleared a Senate committee. Upton is hopeful that 21st Century Cures could become law this summer.
If it does, it could become part of the “cancer moonshot” that Vice President Joe Biden has been working on.