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May 29, 2009


May 29, 2009

Senate to Consider FDA Tobacco Bill

Next week, the Senate will consider the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (S.982) - legislation to grant the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products.

The stage is set for Congress to finally enact this pivotal tobacco control legislation. For years the tobacco control community has worked to get Congress and the Administration to give the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products. The House of Representatives passed the legislation earlier this year, 298-112, and the Obama Administration strongly supports the legislation

On Tuesday, the key Senate vote on the bill, the cloture vote - a vote to prevent opponents of the bill from filibustering the legislation - will take place. It requires 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Today the bill has 53 cosponsors - 7 votes short of the 60 needed to prevent a filibuster. Supporters of the tobacco bill are confident that, with continued grassroots support of the bill, they can deliver the 60 votes. However, it will be close.

ATS members are encouraged to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass the FDA tobacco bill. "For the years, the ATS, along with the entire tobacco control community, has worked to pass this legislation. I urge all ATS members to make one last effort and call their Senators in support of the FDA tobacco bill," said ATS President J. Randall Curtis, MD.

See the action alert on the ATS Website at: http://www.thoracic.org/sections/about-ats/advocacy/take-action-now.html

Research: NHLBI Expands Lung Disease Research

The NHLBI has announced that it will expand its Small Grants for Lung Disease Research program through funding received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act . An additional 9 new grants focusing on COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis will be awarded, bringing the total of number of grants supported through the program to 22 and a total of $3.3 million in funding. The research will focus on study of the molecular pathways involved in the development and progression of COPD and IPF.

The new grants will support lung disease research in the following 16 states: AL, CO, GA, IL, KY, LA, MD, MA, MN, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, TN and TX. For more information about these new NHLBI grant opportunities, go to http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/recovery/index.htm

NIH Seeks Community Input on Research Conflict of Interest

The NIH has released a request for public comments on potential changes to regulations on conflict of interest in federally funded research. In an effort to improve oversight and regulatory compliance, the NIH is inviting comment on all aspects of the regulations, "with particular interest in potential for expanding the scope of the regulation and disclosure interests; the definition of significant financial interest identification and management of conflicts by institutions; assuring institutional compliance; requiring institutions to provide additional information to the Public Health Service; and broadening the regulations to address institutional conflicts of interest."

The current regulations were issued in 1995. Acting NIH Director, Raynard Kington, MD, Ph.D., said, "Both the public and private sectors are deeply involved in collaborative research efforts to meet public health needs. These collaborations are increasingly complex, and it is important to consider if changes are needed to the regulation to ensure the integrity of the science." Dr. Kington continued, "The public comments we are inviting through the ANPRM can help us understand if changes are needed, as well as suggest strategies that may be beneficial."

The ATS will be submitting comments to the NIH on this issue. All public comments are due to the institute by July 7, 2009. The propose rulemaking notice is available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-10666.pdf

Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator