Last week, Senator Michael Bennet gave a moving colloquy, asking that the Senate support the RACE for Children Act. Please take a moment to send a message on his Facebook wall thanking him. It matters. Thank you.https://www.facebook.com/senbennetco/
If you prefer to call, that works also. Senator Bennet’s office: 202-224-5852.
SENATOR BENNET: Thank you Chairman Alexander very much, I’m going to offer amendment number 1. And I’m going to withdraw the amendment.
Last week I visited the pediatric cancer wing of the University Hospital in Cleveland and visited a doctor who devoted his life to treating children with cancer. He told me about the incredible progress researcher and doctors were making and also how there’s so much more work to do to ensure that kids with cancer are provided the chance to grow up and lead full lives.
Under current law, drug companies must study adult drugs in children at least in the same disease. However, this law hasn’t worked for cancer because kids have different kinds of cancers than adults. So these precision medicines aren’t studied at all for children. But it’s still cancer.
The FDA saw this disparity and recommended the change in the law. This change would make it possible to research the most innovative cancer breakthroughs for children. This bill would be live saving for our kids.
This bill could have been lifesaving for Delaney from Grand Junction in Colorado who battled cancer for over 5 years and passed away a year ago when she was out of treatment options. I wish she could be here with us today to advocate for this bill. Delaney once said she heard that “God gives his hardest battles for his strongest soldiers.” But we’re still fighting for Delaney and other kids that are facing cancer and we have no intention of stopping.
I want to thank Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray for their leadership on 21st Century Cures, I also want to thank chair and ranking member Murray for her work to help children get access to life saving treatments through her work on this committee. I also want to thank Chairman for . . . breakthrough and to
Senators Burr and Hatch. Right now we have several of the world’s most innovative cures in the world, which we just passed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Cures need to be available for everyone especially children. There are physicians and parents who learn about breakthroughs in cancer and there’s no way for their children to have access to those drugs.
I know this isn’t easy. It hasn’t been. It’s been tough negotiations. But, whatever language we agree on, we need to be able to look at these parents of children and tell them that those breakthroughs in cancer are now available to their children and that’s my request today Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you, and Ranking Member Murray, and your staff who have worked to advance RACE for Children to this point.
I understand we’re not in place today to adopt the amendment, but I’m asking for a commitment from the Chairman and Ranking member as we move to the floor to work to incorporate the FDA’s recommendations for pediatric cancer in to the user fees bill.
SENATOR ALEXANDER: Thank you Senator Bennet. You have my commitment and Senator Murray’s as well and we commend you for your work on something we would all like to see more of, which is getting drugs approved for children especially those with cancer.