Arthritis Foundation Claims 21st Century Cures Act a Victory for All Americans

Funding for research and development provides additional hope for the more than 50 million Americans living with arthritis.

ATLANTA (December 13, 2016) – Thanks in large part to the army of arthritis Advocates who worked tirelessly for two-plus years, the Arthritis Foundation celebrates the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act, a landmark bill that willaccelerate medical research and the approval of drugs and devices by leveraging innovation, technology and patient input.

The legislation – totaling $6.3 billion in new spending – increases funding for disease research, strengthens the nation’s mental health systems, accelerates drug and medical device approvals and focuses on attracting young scientists to the research field; all significant and meaningful wins for people with arthritis. 

“This is a very exciting day for the arthritis community and our Advocates,” said Sandie Preiss, national vice president for the Foundation’s Advocacy & Access program. “It’s the culmination and result of tireless work by our Advocates and unwavering support by legislators. It’s proof positive that the arthritis community’s voice is strong and loud and that meaningful change can happen.”

For the more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children, living with arthritis, the comprehensive law will have a profound impact on their lives by:

  • Funding $5.3 billion of the total $6.3 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pursue additional research to help those who need cures and better treatment options;
  • Incorporating patient-focused drug development strategies, allowing the patient’s voice and experience to be considered during drug testing and FDA approval;
  • Accelerating research and approvals for drugs and devices, so patients can gain access to new and better treatment options sooner;
  • Breaking down barriers by committing to consider the expansion of telehealth services, improving the process for determining covered treatments and developing tools to allow patients to search for the most cost-effective treatments;
  • Helping ensure that children are adequately represented in research;
  • Investing in mental health and substance abuse programs that will help improve the lives of Americans, including people with arthritis; and
  • Attracting young scientists to the research field via funding for programs, consistent with the Arthritis Foundation’s scientific strategy.

Nearly 1,000 of the Foundation’s 134,000-plus Advocates worked together to support and help pass this bill. The Foundation’s Advocates are a critical component to raising awareness around access to care as they have the ability to personalize how legislation impacts people and can shape the outcomes at a local and national level.

The 21st Century Cures Act passed the House of Representatives on November 30, the Senate on December 7 and was signed into law by President Obama on December 13. Supported by patients and researchers, among other associations, this legislation is a reflection of both parties coming together and putting Americans’ health first. 

About the Arthritis Foundation

The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers per issue.

Press Contact:
Claire Villines
(404) 965-7558
cvillines@arthritis.org