House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., last week announced a new initiative: "a collaborative, bipartisan effort that aims to accelerate the pace of cures and medical breakthroughs in the U.S." In a hearing last Tuesday, witnesses discussed the need for more NIH funding, an FDA drug approval process overhaul, adequate new-drug reimbursements, better use of Big Data and more ambitious goals. "We have 7,000 diseases, but we have treatments for 500. At the rate we're going, I don't think that any of the diseases we're threatened with have a chance of being treated in the short run," said FasterCures Executive Director Margaret Anderson, one of the 11 who testified before the committee. Anderson suggested a "cancer megafund" that would help attract private funding to cancer research efforts.

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