HHS seeks input to speed medical technologies

The Health and Human Services Department is seeking public comment on how the health agency can stimulate innovation in medical technologies, such as drug and biological products and medical devices.

HHS published its request in today's Federal Register. Comments are due by Aug. 23.

HHS also wants to hear how its agencies, for example, the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can better work together to accelerate the development and approval of new medical technologies.

As a result of large investments in biomedical science, recent advances in basic sciences, such as genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, have created the potential for the development of innovative medical technologies. And a rapidly increasing aged population points to the need for new drugs and devices. However, HHS is concerned that new discoveries in basic sciences are not rapidly translating into new medical products for patients.

NIH has launched a Roadmap initiative to transform the nation's medical research enterprise and help speed the movement of research discoveries from the laboratory to the patient. (Click for Oct. 27, 2003 GCN.com story) CMS is working on ways to better coordinate coverage, payment and coding for a more timely reimbursement process.

In a recent report, FDA noted that the numbers of new drug and biologic applications being submitted to the agency are decreasing despite the dramatic increase in research and development spending over the past decade. Current estimates are that it takes 10 to 15 years and $800 million in investment for a new drug to make it from the laboratory bench to a patient's bedside. FDA plans to help make the critical path more predictable and efficient.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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