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Dingell, Upton Opioid Legislation Advances

U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and U.S. Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) today joined the majority of their colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee in voting to advance their bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5002, the Advancing Cutting-Edge (ACE) Research Act. The bill passed unanimously and now heads to the House Floor for consideration.

“I have lived all sides of the opioid epidemic,” said Dingell. “My father was addicted to opioids before anyone really knew what they were and my sister died of a drug overdose. Yet my husband lives with chronic pain and needs opioids to live comfortably. We cannot let the pendulum swing too far in either direction and we cannot be denying medication from those who need it. This bill will allow NIH to innovate and partner with new entities conducting cutting-edge medical research so we can develop new non-addictive painkillers – giving people the relief they need from crippling pain while helping to prevent addiction from taking hold of families in the first place.”

“I’m pleased to see the ACE Research Act – a bipartisan bill my colleague Debbie Dingell and I have worked on – advance today,” said Upton. “This bill better allows the National Institutes of Health to partner with innovative companies doing cutting-edge research to address to the tragic opioid epidemic and get non-addictive pain medications to those in need. We’ve seen major responses to the opioid crisis in recent years, but more work remains. We urge our leadership here in the House to bring this bill up for a vote quickly. There isn’t time to waste.”

Developing new, non-addictive pain medications is essential to combating the opioid epidemic. During Congressional hearings Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requested the agency be given more flexibility, known as other transaction authority (OTA), so the agency could better partner with innovative companies doing research to address the opioid epidemic and other public health threats. Under the ACE Research Act, the NIH Director will be able to more quickly support research on new, non-addictive pain medications and other emerging technologies that can offer hope to those suffering from opioid addiction.

Senators Lamar Alexander (TN) and Patty Murray (WA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate (S.2406). 

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