Senate panel passes measure to speed up approval of Ebola drugs

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved a measure Wednesday designed to speed the approval of Ebola drugs. 

The bill (S. 2917) would make Ebola treatments eligible for priority review vouchers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cutting down on the evaluation time taken by regulators. 

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"As the U.S. continues to respond to Ebola, it is critical that we are doing all we can to get life-saving treatments to those impacted by the disease," said retiring HELP Committee Chairman Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinFCC needs to help services for the deaf catch up to videoconferencing tech Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Ex-Rep. Abby Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa MORE (D-Iowa) in a statement. 

"The bill approved today will help to accomplish that by allowing FDA to incentivize the development of new Ebola treatments and vaccines." 

The Senate bill appears to be the first measure passed to change FDA policy in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. A House version of the measure has not advanced through committee.

HELP lawmakers also approved a measure (H.R. 669) to collect data and raise awareness about stillbirth, sudden unexpected infant death, and sudden unexplained death in childhood.