Upton releases bipartisan concept paper to implement national pandemic readiness strategy

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) on April 27 released a bipartisan concept paper that would direct the president, acting through the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, to implement a national testing, data-sharing infrastructure, vaccine, therapeutic, and medical supply readiness strategy to mitigate current and future pandemics.

Rep. Upton introduced the 21st Century Cures 2.0 with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) to establish a strategy that would identify and implement the actions necessary to ensure the nation can win the battle against COVID-19 and future pandemics, according to the concept paper.

“Our new bipartisan legislation will build on the successes of 21st Century Cures and help us take the next step toward finding and delivering more life-saving cures for patients in Michigan, Colorado, and across the country,” Reps. Upton and DeGette said in a joint statement released on Monday.

Rep. Upton and Rep. DeGette introduced the original 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2016. While successful, the lawmakers noted that “there’s still much more work to be done.”

“Our world today faces the worst public health crisis in more than a century, and Cures 2.0 offers hope for today’s pandemic and tomorrow’s challenges,” the lawmakers said. “It’s more important than ever that we continue our efforts to modernize the way we treat the world’s most vexing diseases.”

The concept paper lays the groundwork for a new bipartisan bill being worked on by Reps. Upton and DeGette, who have received nearly 500 comments from stakeholders toward crafting the bill.

Based on that feedback, their staffs said the members expect Cures 2.0 to cover six key areas: public health and pandemic preparedness; caregiver integration; patient engagement in healthcare decision-making; diversity in clinical trials; U.S. Food and Drug Administration modernization; and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services modernization.