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Dingell-Upton Opioid Legislation Clears U.S. House

Bipartisan bill now heads to U.S. Senate, would spur development of new, non-addictive pain medications

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Washington, June 12, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced a bipartisan bill, H.R. 5002, the Advancing Cutting-Edge (ACE) Research Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph. The bill passed by voice vote and now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration. 

“Today was a significant step in supporting the critical need to develop more non-addictive medicines and alternatives for pain treatment,” said Dingell. “We have a true addiction crisis in this country but there are also people living in significant pain, and we must address both. This bill will ensure that NIH will be able to partner with real innovators to increase non-opioid pain alternatives. Many non-addictive medicines that exist on the market today also come with harsh side effects, which is another reason for this essential work. You never know where that next breakthrough might lie, and this bill’s purpose is to make sure we are leaving no stone uncovered.”

“Most of us know someone affected by the tragic opioid epidemic. Southwest Michigan is no different than the rest of the country. We’re struggling.” said Upton. “There have been important, bipartisan wins in recent years, including CARA and the 21st Century Cures Act, but clearly more work is demanded and remains. The ACE Research Act is part of that work. It’s a balanced, bipartisan bill that will allow critical, cutting-edge research to help us combat this epidemic. We must continue working together to deliver results and relief to those in need.”

Developing new, non-addictive pain medications is essential to combating the opioid epidemic. During Congressional hearings Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requested the agency be given more flexibility, known as Other Transaction Authority (OTA), so that the agency could better partner with innovative companies doing research to address the opioid epidemic and other public health threats.

Under the ACE Research Act, the NIH Director will be able to more quickly support much-needed research on new, non-addictive pain medications and other emerging technologies that can offer hope to those suffering from opioid addiction.

Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Patty Murray, D-Washington, have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate (S.2406).

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