The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has announced its plans to consider companion legislation to the House-approved “21st Century Cures Act,” which is intended to improve the drug and device development processes and expedite patient access to medical treatments. The Senate currently plans three sessions to consider components of its biomedical innovation package.

On February 9, 2016, the Committee will consider a number of bipartisan bills, including proposals addressing such issues as electronic health records, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) device approval process, therapies for rare diseases, neurological disease and medical rehabilitation research, and duodenoscope regulation. A March 9 session will focus on legislation to modernize the FDA and the National Institutes of Health and support for the president’s Precision Medicine Initiative. A third final markup is scheduled for April 6 to complete committee action on the innovation package.