Thought I would share responses from Representative Diana DeGette and Senator Michael Bennet.
Rep. DeGette is a well-loved congresswoman in the Denver area, and she was a co-signer of our initiative. Below is one of the things shared in her recent newsletter:
Opportunities for Medical Advancements in Partnership with Cuba
Many people are wondering what will change with the normalization of relations with Cuba. I recently had the chance to investigate an example of how our countries could work together. This December, I joined several colleagues to see how the Cuban health system is working to treat and prevent diabetes, including the use of a new treatment to prevent diabetic ulcers and amputations. Because of the current Cuban embargo, this new drug, like any medical treatment developed in Cuba, requires political action before it can undergo clinical trials for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We would all benefit if these political barriers fall; instead, we should spend our time and effort testing this new treatment to make sure it is safe and effective. With normalized relations between the United States and Cuba, we can move closer to this goal.
Thank you for contacting me regarding support for the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act (S. 539) and diabetes research, programs, prevention efforts, and care. I appreciate your advocacy on this important issue.
Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and can also lead to other health problems such as vision loss, kidney failure, and amputations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion. Additionally, in Colorado, 6% of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and an estimated 5.7% of adults have been informed that they are at risk for diabetes. It is essential that we work to make diabetes prevention, wellness, and treatment accessible and affordable to all Americans.
You may be interested to know that in March of 2014, I joined my colleagues in signing two letters to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking that the Committee prioritize resources for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 appropriations bill. I will continue to support funding for medical research that saves lives, reduces health care costs and promotes breakthrough discoveries in the treatments of disease and public health.
You may also be interested to know that I worked with my colleagues Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) to include the breakthrough provision in the FDA Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 to expedite FDA approval and provide more flexibility for breakthrough drugs or treatments that show dramatic responses early in development, while still ensuring drug safety and efficacy. Over 40 treatments have already received Breakthrough Therapy Designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As Congress continues to work on the FY 2016 budget, I will keep your views on support for diabetes research, education and care in mind.
I value the input of fellow Coloradans in considering the wide variety of important issues and legislative initiatives that come before the Senate. I hope you will continue to inform me of your thoughts and concerns.
For more information about my priorities as a U.S. Senator, I invite you to visit my website at http://bennet.senate.gov/. Again, thank you for contacting me.
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