Katko: Groundbreaking Cures Act Will Help Combat CNY Heroin Epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. John Katko today (Nov. 30) applauded House passage of the bipartisan, bicameral 21st Century Cures Act.

The patient-centered measure, which Rep. Katko co-sponsored in the House, provides $4.8 billion in funding for the NIH to invest in medical research and development of cures and treatments for chronic diseases, improves and strengthen Medicare, and prioritizes mental health.

Significantly for Central New York, the legislation authorizes $1 billion over two years in state block grants to combat the prescription drug and heroin epidemic.

Funding will go towards prevention, treatment, prescription drug monitoring programming and opioid treatment programs.

“I support this monumental legislation for many reasons – it will help to develop cures for the chronic diseases that affect so many in our community, reform our nation’s broken mental health system, and equip researchers with the resources that they need to deliver new treatments,” said Rep. Katko. “I am incredibly pleased that this comprehensive package includes $1 billion to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing families in our community and across the country.”

The 21st Century Cures Act was developed after years of input from patients and their loved ones, researchers, caregivers, advocates, and innovators.

Right now, it takes 15 years to bring new treatments and medicines to the market and costs billions of dollars.

This legislation will accelerate research and remove barriers by incentivizing collaboration and incorporating patient perspective into drug development and regulatory review.

Specifically, this legislation:

·      Provides the NIH with $4.8 billion in new funding to help drive research and development, bolster Vice President Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot” program, and invest in the BRAIN initiative to improve understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s.

·      Marks the most meaningful reform to mental healthcare in over a decade, improving access to mental healthcare for children, enhancing communication among providers, families and patients, and strengthening the nation’s mental health workforce. This provision is based largely on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Katko and which passed the House earlier this year.

·      Provides the FDA with $500 million for regulatory modernization, giving the agency the ability to recruit and retain doctors and scientists while streamlining and accelerating clinical trials, cutting-edge cures and life-improving therapies.

·      Prioritizes patient-centered medicine, ensuring patients receive personalized treatment and are able to give feedback during drug development.

Congressman Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne counties and a portion of Oswego County.

For more information, visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.