Today, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology submitted a response to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s discussion draft for the 21st Century Cures initiative. The draft was originally released two weeks ago. The nearly 400 page document would make significant changes to several areas of research and drug development. The ASBMB responded specifically to those sections that focused on the work of basic researchers and the National Institutes of Health. You can see the society’s full response here.
The ASBMB supports some parts of the discussion draft. For instance, the draft would require the NIH to report on a variety of aging trends in the NIH-funded workforce. While the society opposes parts of the draft that would legislate the problem prior to the NIH giving this report, the report itself could shed light on important issues regarding demographics of the research enterprise. Similarly, the society supports a proposed NIH-focused working group to identify onerous regulations that could be streamlined or eliminated.
As expected, the ASBMB could not support some parts of the discussion draft. Section 4004 calls for increasing accountability at the NIH. However, Sec. 4004(b) would not increase accountability at the agency; rather, it would slow the pace of funding grants by increasing the bureaucratic workload of NIH institute directors. The language in this section is reminiscent of the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act introduced in 2013, which the society staunchly opposed.
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