Senate HELP Announces Schedule for Consideration of Biomedical Innovation Bills

Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced that HELP will not be working on a Senate version of the House’s 21st Century Cures Act, but will instead vote separately on a range of medical innovation bills. Chairman Alexander announced three scheduled markups to consider legislation: February 9, March 9 and April 6. The Committee will consider at least seven bipartisan bills during its first markup in February:

  • Bipartisan HELP Committee legislation to improve electronic health records. (The draft was released last week and as explained below comments are requested to the committee no later than January 29.)
  • The FDA Device Accountability Act of 2015 (S.1622), sponsored by Sens. Burr (R-N.C.) and Franken (D-Minn.);
  • The Advancing Targeted Therapies for Rare Diseases Act of 2015 (S.2030), sponsored by Sens. Bennet (D-Colo.), Burr (R-N.C.), Warren (D-Mass.), and Hatch (R-Utah);
  • The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act of 2015 (S.849), sponsored by Sens. Isakson (R-Ga.) and Murphy (D-Conn.);
  • The Next Generation Researchers Act (S.2014), sponsored by Sens. Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Collins (R-Maine);
  • The Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act (S. 800), sponsored by Sens. Kirk (R-Ill.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Hatch (R-Utah), Murkowski (R-Alaska), Isakson (R-Ga.), and Collins (R-Maine); and
  • Legislation regarding Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of duodenoscopes.


Additional bipartisan bills to modernize the FDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and provide congressional support for the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative will be considered by the Committee in March:

  • The Advancing Hope Act of 2015 (S. 1878), sponsored by Sens. Casey (D-Pa.), Isakson (R-Ga.), Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirk (R-Ill.);
  • The Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumer’s Health (MEDTECH) Act (S. 1101), sponsored by Sens. Bennet (D-Colo.) and Hatch (R-Utah);
  • The Medical Countermeasures Innovation Act of 2015 (S. 2055), sponsored by Sens. Burr (R-N.C.), Casey (D-Pa.), Isakson (R-Ga.), and Roberts (R-Kan.);
  • The Combination Products Innovation Act of 2015 (S.1767), sponsored by Sens. Isakson (R-Ga.), Casey (D-Pa.), Roberts (R-Kan.) and Donnelly (D-Ind.);
  • The Advancing Breakthrough Medical Devices for Patients Act of 2015 (S. 1077), sponsored by Sens. Burr (R-N.C.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Hatch (R-Utah), and Donnelly (D-Ind.); and
  • Legislation to support the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative and ensure that the NIH has the tools it needs to research treatments that are individualized for patients.


A final markup in April is planned for the Committee to complete its work on the Innovations Initiative. The House’s medical innovation bill, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6), passed the chamber in July by a 344 - 77 vote.

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