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Energy and Commerce advances landmark bill to overhaul drug development

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has planned a markup for its signature legislation to overhaul drug development.  

The markup, which will take place by the health subcommittee on Thursday, will be lawmakers’ first chance to publicly propose changes to the legislation, known as 21st Century Cures.

The committee announced the markup on its Twitter page. Noelle Clemente, a spokeswoman for the committee, said details about the time and place of the hearing was not available.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton, who worked closely with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Col.), has pledged to bring the full bill to a vote by Memorial Day. That puts the committee on an ambitious timeframe at a time when trade and highway funding are dominating talks on the Hill.

The committee unveiled its long-awaited draft of legislation late last month, which is intended to speed up the approval of new drugs and treatments.

The bill would reform the government's rules for clinical trials, create new incentives for drug companies to study rare diseases and put a far greater focus on patient data to move toward "personalized medicine," according to the 200-page draft.

It would also add $10 billion to the NIH's budget over five years – an issue that has been a major sticking point for the committee trying to reach a consensus.