Bill Increases Funding for FDA, Expedites Drug Approvals

The House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that would raise money for medical research at the National Institutes of Health. The bill would distribute cash so the Food and Drug Administration could approve drugs more quickly.
Patient advocacy groups and the drug industry are both ecstatic. The bill gives drug companies more time to market some drugs exclusively — which means more money — and it could make it easier to get new drugs approved. Patient groups love it because it gives them a bigger voice in the drug approval process. But not everyone's happy about it. Some medical researchers say the bill, called the 21st Century Cures Act, will actually weaken FDA oversight over the drug approval process, and could help speed unsafe drugs to market.