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President Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act

The legislation will expedite the drug approval process and provide funding for cancer research and opioid addiction treatment.

President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law on Tuesday. The law contains provisions designed to expedite the drug approval process and provides funding for cancer research, opioid addiction treatment and the Precision Medicine and BRAIN initiatives, according to the Washington Post.

The $6.3-billion law includes the following, according to Kaiser Health News:

  • $4.8 billion over 10 years to the National Institutes of Health.
  • $1 billion over two years for states to address opioid abuse and addiction.

Proponents of the law say it will help patients get the drugs they need more quickly, spur innovations in cancer research and help combat the opioid epidemic. Critics say the law could put drugs in the hands of patients before the drugs have been properly vetted as safe. They also note that because the law pulls $3.5 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, fewer resources will be available for preventive medicine initiatives and combatting public health threats going forward.

To learn more, read about the 21st Century Cures Act in the Washington Post, NBC News and Kaiser Health News.

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