The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is urging the U.S. Senate to support the Pulmonary Hypertension Research and Diagnosis Act of 2016 (S. 3361), introduced this week by the Sen. Bob Casey and aiming to speed the development of new treatments and improve the care of people with pulmonary hypertension (PH).
A similar bill has been moving ahead in the House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, and Rep. Lois Capps, a California Democrat.
“With this disease, awareness is a matter of life or death; the success of current therapies depends on an early and accurate PH diagnosis,” Sen. Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said in a press release. “This bill creates efficiencies at the federal level to support the work that PHA has done over the past 25 years to advance care and awareness in its efforts to support and bring together the PH patient, healthcare professional and research communities.”
The bill was introduced, in large part, to amend the current Public Health Service Act and to establish a coordinating committee on PH. Budget-neutral, it would set up a five-year interagency Pulmonary Hypertension Coordinating Committee, responsible for streamlining federal resources and healthcare-related PH activities, and for developing a strategic plan to improve health outcomes for PH patients. Regular updates to Congress on progress being made in the disease’s treatment and related issues are also required under the proposed law.
Filing of the legislation has been strongly supported by patients, their family members, caregivers and healthcare professionals, the PHA said in the release. In the House, 57 lawmakers have co-sponsored that chamber’s bill, and Casey announced that his proposal already has one co-sponsor, Sen. Angus King, an Independent representing Maine.
The PHA said that it will continue to press lawmakers to support the legislation, and to successfully move for its approval.
PH, a chronic disease, is a characterized by an abnormally high blood pressure in the lungs.