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by: rachel weissman

A strong majority of photo_raAmericans (91%) say it is important to develop better medicines for conditions we currently treat, according to a recent public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America. To achieve this, we need scientists; we need resources; and we need sustained support. Both the public and private sectors have crucial roles to play, but over the past decade the federal commitment to research has wavered. The purchasing power of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is just three-quarters of what it was a decade ago. The percentage of grants approved to receiving funding from the NIH have been cut in half compared to 15 years ago; and the average age for an individual’s first NIH grant is 42. Fortunately, champions in Congress are seeking to change this landscape.

In July 2015, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 6), which bolsters medical research throughout the innovation pipeline, supporting the discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving treatments and cures. This unique legislation identifies and addresses roadblocks to medical progress and develops novel ways to spur innovation. After consulting with a diverse group of stakeholders—including patients, researchers, and industry members—key leaders in Congress crafted a legislative package that provides hope for those who need it most.

HR 6 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, and the Senate has made progress at the committee level to develop a similar legislative package. But as of now, the process has stalled.

In the face of a tumultuous legislative environment, a dramatic election season, and the impending end of the year, the bill’s champions on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers remain dedicated to Cures, and to the patients and families who need them most. We can help them build momentum for passage this year by weighing in on the need for prompt action.

For more information on the 21st Century Cures Initiative, explore the resources on the Energy and Commerce Committee website

Tell your representatives that they need to get the Cures legislation across the finish line this year. If they don’t, we are left with the status quo—and the status quo isn’t good enough. The stakes are high and time is running out. It has never been more important for you to add your voice: Tell Congress we need #CuresNOW!

Ways to Get Involved:

  • Send a message to Congress using this prewritten, editable message.
  • Join the conversation on Twitter using #CuresNOW.
    • Unsure what to tweet? Start with this blog post! “Save Lives: Support 21st Century Cures Act to Bolster Medical Research #CuresNOW [LINK]”
  • Call your congressional representatives using these talking points on discovery, development, and delivery.
  • Add the #CuresNOW Twibbon to your profile picture and show your support.
Rachel Weissman is the policy and advocacy associate at Research!America, the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance committed to making research to improve health a higher national priority.