The National Pediatric Research Network Act would require that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invest more in pediatric research so that it is more reflective of the pediatric population, which is about 20 percent. Brown said that, currently, NIH research funds for pediatric medicine make up only 5-10 percent of the annual research budget.

The bill also would require that a certain proportion of pediatric research grants be for research into rare diseases.

“Pediatric research institutions and pediatric researchers face real financial challenges that threaten their important work,” Brown said. “That’s why I introduced the National Pediatric Research Network Act, to improve and increase investments into pediatric research — especially research on pediatric rare diseases.

“While each rare disease or disorder affects a small patient population, it is important to note that 7,000 rare diseases affect a combined 30 million Americans — 15 million of whom are children.”