arthritis advocacy victory header

Pass the 21st Century Cures Act

21st Century Cures will greatly increase the availability of treatments for people with arthritis and accelerate the path to a cure for the disease.

Arthritis is a debilitating disease with no cure, and for many forms of the disease, there are no effective therapeutic treatments. Even biologic medications – which have revolutionized the treatment of people with auto-immune forms of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis – can have severe side effects and aren’t responsive in everyone. 21st Century Cures will help accelerate the availability of innovative treatments for people suffering from arthritis by enhancing and streamlining the research and drug approval process, and focusing on delivering those treatments to people who need them.

Thanks to the work of Arthritis Foundation Advocates, this bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December of 2016.

So, how will the 21st Century Cures Act benefit people with arthritis? Just a few of the provisions and outcomes of the Act that will have an impact for people with arthritis are highlighted below:

  • Incorporate patient-focused drug development strategies, allowing the patient’s voice and experience to be considered during new drug development. This complements work the Foundation is already doing to gather patient experience data and involve patients in the research process.
  • Increase patient use of health information technology, helping people with arthritis have the most timely and up-to-date health information.
  • Support programs that will expand and improve mental health and substance abuse services, helping people with arthritis who also live with mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • Require guidance that will help qualify biomarkers and target therapies, greatly benefiting people with osteoarthritis who don’t yet have targeted drug therapies to address their disease.
  • Attract more scientists into the research field, consistent with the Foundation’s scientific strategy.
  • Support efforts to improve telehealth services in Medicare, helping people with arthritis gain access to physicians they might not otherwise have access to.
  • Improve the process for determining which Medicare treatments are covered, leading to increased access to arthritis treatments for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Allow Medicare beneficiaries to shop for services in order to find the most cost-effective treatments available