CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON HOUSE PASSAGE OF THE 21ST CENTURY CURES ACT

November 30, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County), sponsor of H.R. 4966, the Preventing Superbugs and Protecting Patients Act, issued the following statement in response to the passage of H.R. 34, the 21st Century Cures Act, by the House of Representatives.

“I am pleased that the 21st Century Cures Act incorporated my bill to address the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs through medical devices. This legislation mandates that cleaning instructions for medical devices be scientifically proven to work while improving the FDA’s authority to limit outbreaks caused by contaminated medical devices. This is welcome news for Los Angeles, which has seen antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths attributed to tainted medical scopes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center. Addressing the problems posed by duodenoscope-linked superbug outbreaks is just one step toward combating the public health and national security threats posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

“I want to thank Senator Patty Murray for working with me on this important issue. Her leadership as Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee helped ensure that our superbug bill language was included in the overall Cures package. I also want to thank the health care staff with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Senate HELP Committee staff for their tireless work on this issue.”

“While not perfect, the 21st Century Cures Act dedicates more than $6 billion to implement many provisions that both my Democratic colleagues and the Obama Administration are supportive of, including funding for the President’s Precision Medicine and BRAIN Initiatives, as well as the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot.  The Act also takes important steps to confront our nation’s opioid abuse crisis and to prioritize mental health programs. I do not believe this Act would have gotten better under the incoming Trump Administration; it likely would have gotten worse. President Obama supports this legislation and I urge the Senate to pass it.”
 

MR. LIEU’S EFFORTS TO COMBAT THE SPREAD OF ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT SUPERBUGS

  • In 2015, in response to news of superbug infections and deaths occuring at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and at the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center, Mr. Lieu called for a Congressional hearing to examine the outbreaks.
     
  • Mr. Lieu sought answers from the Olympus Corporation of Americas, makers of the duodenoscopes that transmitted the deadly CRE bacteria to patients during a routine medical procedure. In the letter, he asked Olympus Corp. how they planned to prevent superbug outbreaks linked to contaminated medical scopes and about the effectiveness of their cleaning instructions.
     
  • Mr. Lieu also sent letters to government agencies, including a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg seeking further information and ideas on how to best prevent fatal outbreaks of antibiotic resistant bacteria and a letter to the SEC Chair Mary Jo White to investigate Olympus for fraud and violations of U.S. securities laws.
     
  • In August 2016, Mr. Lieu sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry urging the State Department to request that Japanese authorities investigate and prosecute Olympus for civil or criminal misconduct in their mishandling of antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections caused by their medical devices.
     
  • After a yearlong investigation that Mr. Lieu requested, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found significant gaps in existing law that contributed to a nationwide problem of superbug outbreaks due to tainted duodenoscopes. This led to Mr. Lieu introducing two pieces of legislation,  H.R. 4965, the Disclosure; and Encouragement of Verification, Innovation, Cleaning, and Efficiency (DEVICE) Act and H.R. 4966, the Preventing Superbugs and Protecting Patients Act.
     
  • On February 4, 2016, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Senate companion bill to Mr. Lieu’s H.R. 4966, which is included in Section 3059 of the 21st Century Cures Act.

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