Congressman John Shimkus

Representing the 15th District of Illinois


With Over 10,000 Diseases & Only 500 Treatments – Shimkus Votes for Cures

Jul 10, 2015
Press Release
21st Century Cures Act a “tribute to what we can do when we work together," says Shimkus

WASHINGTON – Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) voted today for legislation to speed up the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments. H.R. 6, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act would streamline Food & Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and boost research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

During debate Thursday evening, Shimkus praised the 21st Century Cures Act (or simply ‘Cures’) as “a tribute to what we can do when we work together” and highlighted several provisions he offered to improve our ability to treat antibiotic resistant diseases and bring new medical devices to the market.


Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people are infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 of them die as a direct result of those infections, according to the CDC. Many more patients die from other conditions that were complicated by the growth in antibiotic-resistance.

A provision of 21st Century Cures authored by Shimkus and Congressman Gene Green (D, Texas-29) would speed up FDA approval of new antibiotics for the most life-threatening infections for which no other treatment options exist. The congressmen also introduced this provision as H.R. 2629, the ADAPT Act.

“By creating a new, streamlined pathway for the most critically needed antibiotics and antifungals, thousands of lives can be saved each year,” said Shimkus.

Medical Devices

Seven other provisions offered by Shimkus would help get new, more advanced medical devices to the patients who need them. Accounting for less than 6 percent of total healthcare expenditures, new technologies and innovation in medical devices have helped reduce hospital stays and improve the quality of life for countless patients of all ages and incomes.

“These provisions would speed up FDA’s review and approval processes by reducing the agency’s workload, improving training, and clarifying what data, standards and recommendations they ought to consider,” said Shimkus. “Another would expand humanitarian exemptions for devices needed to treat some of the rarest diseases.”

Safety Standards

According to the Energy and Commerce Committee, there are more than 10,000 known diseases for which we currently have only 500 treatments. Closing this gap is especially challenging as it can take up to 15 years from initial molecular targeting to bring a new drug to market.

The 21st Cures Act takes on those challenges without compromising patient safety. Dr. Janet Woodcock, who runs the FDA’s drug center, stated publicly in June that Cures does nothing to lower FDA’s safety standards.

“Cures is about cutting through the bureaucracy and red tape, not cutting corners on safety reviews,” added Shimkus.