House subpanel advances six public health measures

A key House subpanel advanced six bipartisan measures related to public health late Thursday, including a bill designed to speed up federal regulators' approval of new sunscreen ingredients.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved the legislation in a speedy mark-up just after the chamber's Republicans elected new leaders.

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The bills are expected to pass the House with ease given support from Democrats, and highlight efforts by GOP leaders to move health-related measures despite the conference's inaction on an ObamaCare alternative.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) praised the subcommittee as a "workhorse in public health," having approved "dozens" of bills that eventually became law this term.

The bills that now advance to the full committee would: 

-Classify certain potentially dangerous steroids marketed as dietary supplements as controlled substances (H.R. 4771)

-Force regulators to rule on new sunscreen applications on a specific timetable (H.R. 4250)

-Order a review of current research on vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease (H.R. 4701)

-Tweak a landmark law spurring research on muscular dystrophy with new language on the disorder and new directions for gathering data on racial and ethnic disparities (H.R. 594)

-Improve public awareness of sudden unexpected infant death and sudden unexplained death in children, including establishing a grant program for states to improve comprehensive death scene investigations (H.R. 669)

-Reauthorize grant programs that support emergency medical care for children (H.R. 4290)

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