U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Effort to Help with Development of Ebola Treatments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has joined several of her HELP Committee colleagues in introducing legislation to incentivize the development of treatments and vaccines for Ebola by adding the disease to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) priority review voucher program, an initiative designed to help speed the development of new drugs for neglected tropical diseases. Currently Ebola is not listed as a qualifying tropical disease. The bill, introduced by HELP Chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) would add Ebola as a qualifying disease under the FDA priority review voucher program.
“I’m proud to support bipartisan legislation to strengthen our response to Ebola and help researchers develop new treatments and vaccines for those who need them,” said Senator Baldwin. “This is an important step as we continue to fight this deadly epidemic in West Africa and keep America safe from a larger public health threat.”
The bill would add Ebola to FDA’s priority review voucher program, which Congress first authorized in 2007 to promote the development of new treatments and vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. Under the program, a developer of a treatment for a qualifying tropical disease receives a voucher for FDA priority review to be used with a second product of its choice, or this voucher can be sold.
However, because Ebola is not considered a qualifying disease under current law, developers of Ebola treatments and vaccines currently do not qualify for the program. This bill would change that and immediately add Ebola to the program – a step that would add another tool to help fight Ebola. The bill also makes changes to improve the functioning of the program and allow FDA to respond more efficiently to infectious disease threats in the future.
In addition to Senators Harkin, Alexander and Baldwin, cosponsors of the bill include Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Al Franken (D-MN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Scott (R-SC), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
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