Science policy news weekly update: December 2, 2016

The ASBMB’s Public Affairs Department encourages all readers of the Policy Blotter to alert the office about interesting and relevant articles. Please send tips to astothert@asbmb.org.

What’s new in Blotter news?

Last month the National Institutes of Health released a request for information on the inclusion of preprints and interim research products in grant proposals and reports. Members of the ASBMB Public Affairs Advisory Committee and ASAPbio provided their response.

Members of the ASBMB’s PAAC and ASAPbio weigh in on the NIH’s RFI on preprints

The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, discusses the NIH’s response to the ASBMB’s request for guidance regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rule.

The NIH responds to the ASBMB on overtime pay gap

 

News came out this week that President-elect Donald Trump will nominate U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Price is an orthopedic surgeon by training who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005. Most recently, Price has chaired the House Budget Committee. Despite his experience in both the medical and political realms, many in the scientific community are still unsure what this appointment will mean for scientific research. Price is a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act and has previously mentioned that, while he supports medical research, he is not willing to give the government a blank check. Despite the unknown, many believe Price’s main goals while serving as HHS secretary will be to reform Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump to name Rep. Tom Price as next HHS secretary (Washington Post)

What Trump’s HHS secretary pick believes about medicine (STAT)

Trump’s pick to run HHS has researchers speculating on how science will fare (Science)

6 big areas where Tom Price can chance policy at HHS (Politico)

 

On Wednesday evening, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures act by a vote of 392 to 26. Included in this bill is legislation to speed the process of delivering new medicines and medical devices to market, as well as a $4.8 billion dollar increase for medical research, including Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot, BRAIN Initiative, and Precision Medicine Initiative. The bill will also give $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis and an additional $500 million to the FDA. The next step is for this legislation to be passed to Senate for a vote, which is expected early next week. Despite the overwhelming majority from the House vote, and the proposed support from Senate leaders, some high-ranking Senate members, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., are critical of the House version of the bill. They say that the bill caters too much to big pharma and will weaken regulator authority, potentially compromising patient safety.

House approves the 21st Century Cures Act, sending landmark bill to Senate (STAT)

House lawmakers passed the biggest health reform bill since the Affordable Care Act (Vox)

Cures Act is bad medicine for NIH, FDA (American Prospect)

 

Last week, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Dec. 1 implementation of a new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor expanding the number of workers eligible for overtime pay, including postdoctoral researchers. Despite this ruling, and the promise from Republicans in Congress to eliminate this rule, the NIH has vowed to move forward with increasing the amounts of stipends afforded to certain biomedical postdoctoral researchers.

NIH says it will raise postdoc salaries, despite threats to overtime rule (ScienceNOW)

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