If you are living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis you may wonder: What it will take to cure this disease?
You aren’t the only one asking that question. Nor is it limited to psoriatic disease. Your elected officials in Washington, D.C. are asking similar questions – about all diseases. And the answers they are getting are likely to lead to some real scientific progress for our nation.
In April 2014, the House of Representative’s congressional committee that oversees public health, food and drug safety, and consumer protection issues began to ask tough questions about how our nation works to develop cures. This Energy and Commerce Committee questioned: How do our federal agencies support the development of cures? Are we allocating enough resources and to the right places to generate scientific advancement? Can Congress make any changes that will deliver treatments faster?
There have been several discussions in D.C. and at roundtables across the country. Now a year later, Republicans and Democrats have developed the 21st Century Cures, a piece of bipartisan legislation that will accelerate how our nation discovers, develops and bring treatments to patients.
One of the primary reasons treatments and medications can be so expensive is because of the significant cost related to research and development. The current draft of the legislation appropriately adjusts for that by authorizing $10 billion over a period of five years to establish an innovation fund at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), starting in fiscal year 2016. The bill also proposes to increase NIH funding over the next few years, from $31.8 billion in fiscal year 2016 to $34.85 billion in fiscal year 2018. The current overall NIH funding is more than $30 billion, of which $13 million is spent studying psoriatic disease.
But 21st Century Cures is about more than just adequately funding research. There are other areas critical to our community addressed by this bill:
- Incorporating patient perspectives into how the Food and Drug Administration regulates treatments and help address their unmet medical needs.
- Making it easier to perform clinical trials.
- Supporting continued innovation at our federal public health agencies.
- Promoting pediatric research.
The National Psoriasis Foundation is glad to see the Energy and Commerce Committee beginning to address these questions. They also were top of mind when we created our current strategic plan.
And we are excited about the current solution on the table. As we continue to participate in this important conversation, we invite you to share how important a cure for psoriatic disease is to you and advocate along with us. We will continue to participate in committee meetings, comment on draft legislation, and talk with the committee staff to ensure the voices of people with psoriatic disease are heard – we want you with us along the way.
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.