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Upton Thankful as Pediatric Research, Meningitis/Drug Safety Bills Signed into Law

President today signs PREEMIE Reauthorization Act and Upton’s Drug Quality and Security Act

Washington, DC, November 27, 2013 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761)
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, applauded the President today for signing two important public health bills that had been previously advanced by Upton’s committee with strong bipartisan support.

“This Thanksgiving, we offer families in Michigan and across the country a little more hope with these critical public health bills now law,” said Upton.

With an average of one in eight children born prematurely, the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act (S.252) seeks to strengthen the ongoing effort to track, prevent, and treat prematurity to ensure children have a healthy start and a productive future. Upton sponsored the original PREEMIE Act that was signed into law in December 2006. The bipartisan legislation also provides for the creation of the National Pediatric Research Network to facilitate research to help children with rare and genetic diseases. The House passed similar stand-alone legislation, H.R. 225, to create the network in February.

“Although our bipartisan effort to boost pediatric care began several years ago, the delays never deterred our commitment to getting it done. Seeing the PREEMIE Act package of reforms across the finish line and now law is something we can all be thankful for this year. This law will especially have a direct and profound impact on the lives of families like the Kennedys in Mattawan, whose daughters Brooke and Brielle are battling the rare disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is often difficult to conduct research into rare diseases due to the small number of people affected. But today, with great thanks to Brooke and Brielle for serving as an inspiration, we create a new research network to provide families like the Kennedys with greater hope for a cure and advances in treatment.”

The President also signed Upton’s Drug Quality and Security Act (H.R. 3024), a breakthrough agreement to improve drug safety in the wake of the deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak. By all accounts, Michigan has been hardest hit by the outbreak with 264 cases and 19 fatalities, including 3 deaths from Upton’s own district. Upton’s committee has led a thorough investigation into the recent outbreak to ensure such a public health catastrophe never happens again.

“With the President’s signature today, this bipartisan law will help prevent future crises like last year’s deadly fungal meningitis outbreak while also establishing a unified framework for maintaining safety throughout the drug supply chain. Across the nation, Americans going to their doctor’s office or pharmacy will now have the confidence that their drugs are safe. From bipartisan oversight to drafting and approving legislation, we were able to reach a compromise to protect the drug supply and also remove regulatory roadblocks, creating an environment conducive to job creation. I am thankful for the cooperation of my colleagues in both the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, for their efforts in this achievement.”

H.R. 3024 also strengthens the prescription drug supply chain in order to protect American families against counterfeit drugs as well as eliminates needless government red tape that harms Michigan employers like Perrigo and Pfizer.

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