December 11, 2019

Senator Warren & Congresswoman Clarke Reintroduce the National Biomedical Research Act to Increase Funding for Medical Research

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today announced the reintroduction of the National Biomedical Research Act, a bill to provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with predictable, supplemental funding for biomedical research. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai'i), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Chris Murphy (D-Ct.), are original cosponsors.

The National Biomedical Research Act would create the Biomedical Innovation Fund, a new federal funding stream of $10 billion per year for select initiatives at the NIH and FDA. The legislation makes clear that the Biomedical Innovation Fund should supplement, not supplant, existing appropriations for NIH and FDA. Funds would only be available during years when Congress increases discretionary appropriations for NIH and FDA, thus ensuring that funding for medical research never falls below Fiscal Year 2020 levels. Predictability of funding will create stability for an increasingly diverse group of researchers and will accelerate the pace of medical advancements. 
My bill with Congresswoman Clarke would ensure the Federal Government fully invests in the medical breakthroughs in disease prevention, diagnoses, and cures, to allow everyone receive the best treatments available," said Senator Warren. "It is critical we support our researchers in Massachusetts and around the country and protect their work from funding shortfalls brought on by petty squabbles in Washington."

“I am proud to introduce this bicameral bill with Senator Warren, the National Biomedical Research Act, which reestablishes the Federal Government’s commitment to the work of our nation’s medical researchers through proper funding," said Congresswoman Clarke. "Our communities cannot thrive without the medical discoveries in disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that keep us informed and healthy. We must put politics aside and support researchers in New York and beyond who are committed to making our community stronger.”

The Biomedical Research Fund would supplement yearly appropriations for:
  • Basic Research: research on the underlying basis of disease to better address disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment;
  • Disruptive Innovation: breakthrough research on diseases with unmet medical needs or for which current treatments are limited, inadequate, or burdensome;
  • Addressing Burdensome Diseases: research on chronic, degenerative diseases that disproportionally contribute to spending under Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, TRICARE, or the Veterans Health Administration;
  • Early Career Scientists: grants to young scientists and research institutions supporting these scientists, which lead to earlier research independence and enhance employment opportunities in America;
  • Improving Diversity: research conducted by investigators from traditionally underrepresented groups, research in labs of varying sizes, and research at institutions in states that could improve the geographic diversity of funding;
  • Regulatory Science: research to improve the predictability, consistency, and efficiency of the review of medical products and regulatory decision-making; and
  • Medical Product Surveillance: the development, regulatory review, and postmarket surveillance of new medical products.

The National Biomedical Research Act has been endorsed by the AIDS Action Committee, AIDS Institute, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fenway Health, Hemophilia Federation of America, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Mended Hearts, National Alopecia Areata Foundation, Neurofibromatosis Northeast, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, National Brain Tumor Society, National Down Syndrome Society, Public Citizen, Society of Behavioral Medicine, United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and ZERO Cancer. Senator Warren introduced a version of the bill in 2016 and in 2017.

Senator Warren has led bipartisan efforts during her time in the Senate to advance medical innovation and expand access to high-quality health care. In November 2019, she and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced the reintroduction of the Medical Innovation Act, a bill that would increase funding for critical medical research by requiring large pharmaceutical companies that are accused of breaking the law and settle allegations of criminal wrongdoing with the federal government to reinvest a small percentage of their profits in NIH and FDA.