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June 17, 2022

Senate HELP Committee advances user fee agreements and three public health bills to full Senate

On June 14, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced four health care bills to the full Senate, including legislation to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee agreements, the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act (FDASLA).

If passed, the Senate will need to reconcile the FDASLA with the House’s FDA User Fee Reauthorization package (H.R. 7667), which passed in a 392-28 vote under suspension of the rules on June 8. During the Senate markup, lawmakers debated 39 amendments to FDASLA, ultimately adopting 28 amendments, including several addressing the current infant formula shortage, new transparency requirements for the FDA, increasing generic drug competition, and allowing prescription drug importation from Canada. Lawmakers voted 15-7 to table a broader drug importation amendment from Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) that would have allowed wholesalers, licensed US pharmacies, and individuals to import prescription drugs from the United Kingdom and Canada, with the potential for additional countries over time. Several Republicans, including Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC), raised concerns that the measure’s inclusion would jeopardize the bill’s overall passage.

The committee also voted to advance three public health bills: the Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act (S. 958), the Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act (H.R. 1193), and the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2022 (S. 4052).

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HELP Committee advances health care bills