The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) continually advocates for laws and policies to ensure that patients have access to lifesaving treatments. Our latest win came this summer when the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures Act.
This bill, which is proof of LLS’s impact and would make a big difference for blood cancer patients, is now on Congress’ “to do” list.
The House of Representatives finished its work on the 21st Century Cures Act in July, leveraging the support of blood cancer patients and others to approve the bill with a huge, bipartisan majority. With Congress back in session, the Senate HELP Committee will now take up their version of the bill—an initiative they’ve termed “Innovation for Healthier Americans”—aimed at improving and accelerating the process to discover, develop, review, and approve new treatments for patients.
Advocates and leaders from LLS have been working with the House and Senate to make sure that Congress prioritizes the reforms that can make a real difference in speeding access to new blood cancer therapies. In just the past year, LLS patient advocates and staff have met with their representatives and senators at home and in Washington, while raising the profile of LLS priorities on Twitter and Facebook. At the same time, LLS President and CEO Dr. Lou DeGennaro testified at a House committee meeting in 2014 and sat down with House and Senate leaders this summer to highlight the need for lasting reforms.
That’s why the House-passed package included so many LLS-supported reforms, including policies that streamline complex clinical trials. The package empowers patient voices to ensure new treatments are focused on what matters most to patients, makes a significant investment in new medical research, and simplifies how patients without other options can access investigational therapies.
As we wait for the Senate to finish their draft Innovation for Healthier Americans package and release it for public input, LLS and our advocates will need to keep up the pressure on every senator. They need to hear a clear message from their constituents: It’s time to finish the job and send this bill to the president’s desk.
In addition to promoting these much-needed reforms, LLS’s Office of Public Policy is working at both the state and federal level to secure laws that will provide patients with more affordable access to the therapies that are critical to their treatment. LLS is also committed to ensuring that Congress restores funding for cancer research.