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Alexander, Murray Release Bill to Let NIH “Spend More Time on Life-Saving Treatments and Cures”

Legislation will cut down on paperwork soaking up 42% of investigators’ time on research grants

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 31 – The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate health committee released legislation to help the bright minds at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spend more time developing life-saving treatments and cures for America’s patients.

“In two separate studies, the National Academies found that principal investigators spend 42 percent of their time on federal research projects handling related administrative tasks, rather than research itself – when the head of the academies says 10 percent or less would be appropriate,” said Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) “This legislation will help the NIH eliminate this unnecessary red tape that not only wastes researchers’ time, but also wastes taxpayer dollars the agency could devote to additional multi-year grants for sponsored research to capitalize on this exciting time in science and bring more life-saving cures and treatments to American patients.”

“By streamlining administrative requirements for NIH researchers and recipients of NIH grants, this legislation would break down barriers that get in the way of medical progress, and help ensure that our country’s innovators are able to focus on achieving the lifesaving breakthroughs that so many patients and families hope to see,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) “The legislation also enhances NIH’s ongoing efforts to ensure important subpopulations, like women and children, are included in biomedical research.  I’m proud to have worked with Chairman Alexander and other committee members on this legislation and I hope we can continue working in a bipartisan way to advance biomedical research, including by providing critically needed mandatory funding for the NIH and the FDA.”

The Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act:

Streamlines reporting requirements across NIH institutes and centers:

  • Updates and consolidates reporting requirements across the agency’s 27 institutes and centers in an effort to limit sporadic reports from the agency’s different institutes and centers, so that Congress receives a more cohesive overview of the agency every three years – both creating a better picture of the research activities at the NIH and easing burdens on those preparing and reviewing the reports.

Increases accountability for leadership at the NIH:

  • Requires directors at the agency’s national research institutes and centers to be reappointed every five years to allow for evaluation and increased accountability among agency leadership.

Helps identify and eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens that take NIH researchers away from their work to develop life-saving treatments and cures:

  • Requires the NIH to evaluate current reporting requirements on researchers and cut those that are inconsistent or duplicative – reducing administrative burden on researchers at the NIH and recipients of NIH grants.
  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish a board to look at the effects of federal regulation on research and recommend improvements, which will be formally reported to Congress, OMB leadership, and other relevant federal agencies and evaluated by the Government Accountability Office.

Allows the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH to support later-phase clinical trial research to help deliver more treatments and cures for patients:

  • Allows research universities and others conducting NCATS-supported clinical research to conduct later-stage clinical trials. This change will help spur more promising candidates for investment to bridge the so-called “valley of death” between basic biomedical research and industry investment in bringing treatments and cures to market.

Click HERE for text of The Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act.