PREVENT Pandemics Act Would Improve Public Health in the U.S.

February 11, 2022

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) sent comments to leadership of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) regarding the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act), which aims improve the nation’s public health and medical preparedness systems, in addition to improving the U.S. healthcare system more broadly.

ASCO’s comments convey the Association’s support for a number of provisions in the bill including:

  • Addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) – The legislative package would create grant programs to support evidence-based projects that aim to address SDOH, which ASCO strongly supports.
  • Facilitating standardized, interoperable healthcare data systems – The lack of standardized data capture, reporting, and metrics continues to be a significant challenge in the pursuit of health equity. ASCO is glad the bill sponsors have included plans to create a modern, standardized, and interoperable data system to stakeholders document, understand, and begin to address systemic inequities.
  • Improving clinical trials – ASCO is pleased to see sections of the bill aiming to modernize clinical trials through decentralization, the use of digital health technologies, and innovative clinical trial design.
  • Modernizing and strengthening the supply chain for vital medical products – During COVID-19, healthcare providers have struggled to obtain medications and supplies essential to patient care. ASCO strongly supports provisions in the bill that would shore up the country’s Strategic National Stockpile.
  • Sections mitigating drug and device shortages – Drug shortages are an ongoing public health concern in the United States. The inclusion of ASCO-recommended provisions in the bill would be a necessary first step towards mitigating the ongoing disruptions and shortages.

ASCO’s comments also urge lawmakers to consider adding Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) authorization language to the text of the PREVENT Pandemics Act. The comments on ARPA-H are part of ASCO’s ongoing efforts to work with Congress and the Administration on the proposed agency, which has the potential to transform and improve medicine and health by funding bold, high-risk projects that could create new capabilities, but which require large-scale, sustained coordination.

Read the full comment letter.

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