President Obama got in a little hot water earlier this week when he brought up the Boston Red Sox trade of Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox while hosting a Boston fundraiser. It wasn’t that great of a decision to bring up this unpleasantness with angry Red Sox fans, but now he has a chance to redeem himself and help an important piece of legislation slide across home plate, figuratively speaking.
Earlier this week, the Senate passed the updated PDUFA legislation that was developed and passed the House earlier in the year. Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it’s on to the POTUS (I want to see how many D.C. acronyms I can get in here). As a refresher, PDUFA is one of the many Washington acronyms that almost no one else outside of the health care world knows – it stands for Prescription Drug User Fee Act. If you need the PDUFA Cliff Notes check out my last blog post and check out FiercePharma and Washington Post for more coverage on what it all means when in practice.
So, what does PDUFA really mean? It means that the FDA will have more resources to process drug applications, including the new additions of generic drugs and biosimilars (more affordable versions of biologic drugs) to the mix. This is great news for not only the FDA, but for the companies pushing innovation in medicines and new treatment options. But, most importantly, patients will reap the greatest benefit from this legislation. This is one piece of legislation that touches everyone in the U.S. who currently takes a prescription medicine or will take one in the future — which should be just about everyone. Quicker, more efficient review times without a heavy financial burden on the system is positive progress enough, but providing patients with a wider range of better treatment options is the best outcome anyone could hope for.
President Obama, since you’re on a roll with health care legislation, please give this legislation your stamp of approval too. Lots of folks are counting on this for another five years of PDUFA!