The House passed legislation on Monday to require the Drug Enforcement Administration to classify drugs within a specified timeframe with the intention of allowing new treatments to hit the market faster.

Passed by voice vote, the measure would force the DEA within 90 days to classify, or schedule, drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that haven't been sold in the U.S. and have the potential for abuse.


Under current law, the DEA doesn't face a deadline for scheduling new drugs after the FDA recommends  them. As a result, some drugs aren't scheduled for months at a time.

Rep. Joe PittsJoseph (Joe) R. PittsProgress in the fight against human trafficking Pitts op-ed misses mark on Democrat 'betrayals' over ObamaCare Lawmakers considering ObamaCare replacement: learn from 10 anti abortion betrayals MORE (R-Pa.), the bill's sponsor and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, argued that making the DEA issue a decision within three months would give patients access to new and potentially life-saving drugs.

"The lack of predictability in the timing of DEA scheduling decisions leads to unnecessary uncertainty in the drug development process and needless delays in patient access to new therapies," Pitts said.

Lawmakers agreed the bill would establish firmer guidelines so that new drugs can be sold in the U.S. more quickly.

"This legislation would improve patient access by bringing clarity and transparency to the process of scheduling a new FDA-approved therapy," said Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).