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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Green and Blackburn Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Grant Ebola Treatment Priority Review

November 19, 2014
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of House Members led by Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced H.R. 5729, the Adding Ebola to the FDA Priority Review Voucher Program Act, to expedite review of therapies and treatments of the Ebola virus. Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) are also original cosponsors of this legislation.

Green said, “In 2007, Congress took action to break down economic barriers for developing treatments and vaccines against tropical diseases by establishing the tropical disease priority review voucher program. Now it’s time for Congress to act again, and respond to the Ebola outbreak by making therapies and vaccines to treat the deadly virus eligible for the program. The Ebola outbreak is the worst in history, and this crisis demands swift actions to combat the epidemic. This legislation will help fight Ebola by rewarding investments and efforts to find effective vaccines and cures.”

The Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher system was created to give companies that successfully develop a drug for an otherwise neglected tropical disease a special priority review voucher capable of reducing the FDA’s standard 10-month review time by four months. This legislation will make drugs and vaccines developed to treat Ebola eligible for the priority review voucher.  

“With nearly 15,000 cases and over 5,000 deaths, the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the worst since the discovery of the virus in 1976,” Blackburn said. “In light of this global outbreak there should be an intensive effort to find and approve a treatment or better yet, a vaccine to prevent Ebola. I want to thank my colleagues – Reps. Green, Butterfield, McCaul, and Fleischmann – for joining me in this important effort with the introduction of H.R. 5729. Decreasing the time it takes for a company to bring a drug safely through the FDA to approval provides a great incentive for the development of other drugs, particularly those that have historically been neglected.”