Sebelius Talks Budget Cuts
On Thursday, March 3, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee regarding President Obama's 2012 HHS budget requests and implementation of health reform. During her testimony, Sebelius stated that the proposed budget would keep "America at the cutting edge of new cures, treatments, and health information technology."
Watch the archived webcast of the hearing.
View the press release.
Open Letter to Congress on Science Funding
On March 1, more than 470 scientific researchers throughout the U.S. sent an open letter to Congress in response to the current proposed government budget cuts in scientific fields. The letter, addressed to Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Alexander (R-TN), suggests that economic and intellectual consequences would fall on America if proposed cuts to a number of national scientific agencies occur. These scientific researchers believe that "the economic health and world leadership of this country depend on an unbroken cycle of innovation," and the proposed cuts will harm the competitiveness, innovation, and future of the nation.
Read the letter.
Third Annual Personalized Medicine Partnerships Conference
Arrowhead's Third Annual Personalized Medicine Partnerships Conference will be held April 11-12 in Washington, DC. The Conference will focus on the future of personalized medicine and barriers to its successful implementation. Notable speakers include representatives from Genomic Health, the Food and Drug Administration, Johnson & Johnson, QIAGEN, Medco, Generation Health, and more.
Learn more and register.
Last week, the Senate deliberated over sections of the America Invests Act (S 23), which concerns shifting the current U.S. patent system from a "first-to-invent" to a "first-to-file" process. On March 3, Senators gathered to debate Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) amendment that would maintain the current system. To draw support against the proposal, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who is a sponsor of the America Invests Act, maintained that the "United States is the only industrialized country still using a first-to-invent system" and that a "first-inventor-to-file system, where the priority of a right to a patent is based on the earlier filed application, adds simplicity and objectivity into a very complex system."
The Senate voted down Senator Feinstein's amendment proposal 87-13.
Read the current provisions of the America Invests Act.
Read Senator Leahy's press release.
DTC Genetic Tests
On February 23, the American Medical Association (AMA) sent a letter to the FDA conveying its opinion on direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. This letter urged the FDA to recommend that DTC genetic testing be used "under the most limited circumstances" and only under the supervision of a certified medical professional.
The FDA's Molecular and Clinical Genetics Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee met yesterday, March 8, and is meeting today, March 9, to continue to discuss the regulation of DTC genetic testing products. The issues being addressed at this meeting include the costs and benefits of making genetic tests available to consumers without clinician oversight; the risks of miscommunicated, misunderstood, or incorrect test results; and the level of scientific evidence necessary to support DTC genetic testing claims.
Read the AMA's letter.
View the the meeting notice.