Blackburn bill would add Ebola to FDA priority review program

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation last week that would add Ebola to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), the bipartisan bill would expedite the review of therapies and treatments of the Ebola virus and other filoviruses, including the Ebola-related Marburg virus. 

The voucher program can reduce the FDA’s typical 10-month review process by four months.

“With nearly 15,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths, the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the worst since the discovery of the virus in 1976,” Blackburn said. “In light of this global outbreak, there should be an intensive effort to find and approve a treatment, or better yet, a vaccine to prevent Ebola.”

Blackburn said decreasing the time it takes for a company to take a drug through the FDA approval process would provide an incentive for the development of new drugs.

McCaul said he was proud to support Blackburn’s bill, which he says will build on the priority review voucher program.

“Ebola has garnered the attention of the world and must be combated with a comprehensive strategy including the development of a cure,” McCaul said. “U.S. companies have the unique talents and ingenuity to develop a vaccine, but they need the right incentives to justify the extraordinary up-front investment necessary to bring a drug to market.”