Your Washington Desk
From Senator Johnny Isakson
Isakson, Harkin, Alexander, Reed Applaud Senate Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Help Prevent Skin Cancer
Today, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., along with Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., applauded Senate passage of legislation that seeks to address a regulatory backlog that is blocking U.S. consumers from access to innovative sunscreens widely available in the rest of the world.
The Sunscreen Innovation Act cleared the Senate Wednesday evening, just hours after being approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in a unanimous voice vote.
“As a melanoma survivor, I believe it’s essential that Americans have access to the most safe and effective sunscreen,” said Isakson. “Too often, technological advancements that have the ability to improve the quality of health care and prevent disease are held back by an overly rigid regulatory process. The Senate’s quick action is a strong message that it’s time for the delays at FDA to end, and I hope the House will send this bill to the president soon so we can clear the bureaucratic hurdles that have stood between American consumers and the new and innovative sunscreen products that are already available in many other countries.”
“I am pleased that the Senate took swift action to approve the bipartisan and critically important Sunscreen Innovation Act,” Harkin said. “This bill streamlines FDA’s review of new sunscreen ingredients and will expedite access to new sunscreens which will help keep Americans healthier by reducing the risk of skin cancer. I look forward to moving this important measure forward as it goes to the House for consideration.”
“This bill to get safe sunscreen ingredients to Americans more quickly is about preventing cancer—this year alone an estimated 1,900 Tennesseans will be diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said Alexander. “Senator Isakson and Senator Reed have done great work with this bill, which will hold the FDA accountable to timelines and reform the process so that the FDA can meet those timelines.”
“This is a win for consumers and public health. The Sunscreen Innovation Act will help ensure U.S. consumers have access to the safest, most effective sunscreens available,” said Reed. “The FDA must do its due diligence to ensure the safety of these products and they should do it in a timely manner. Americans shouldn’t have to wait decades for access to the most advanced, effective sunscreens. By streamlining its review process, the FDA can help consumers better protect themselves from skin cancer. We want Americans to follow safe sun practices and benefit from the latest advances in sun care products and research. I appreciate Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Alexander, and my lead cosponsor, Senator Isakson, for making this legislation to help consumers and prevent skin cancer a priority. I am pleased we were able to pass it with strong bipartisan support.”
The Sunscreen Innovation Act builds on S.2141, introduced by Isakson and Reed, and H.R.4250, the House-passedSunscreen Innovation Act, and, while prioritizing sunscreens, improves the regulatory pathway for other over-the-counter drugs that also have been stalled at FDA under the current framework.
As skin cancer rates continue to climb, the Isakson-Reed legislation seeks to expedite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) review process for active ingredients in sunscreens that have long been approved for use in places such as Europe, Canada, and other countries.
Some of these sunscreen ingredients have been safely used overseas for years, but have had their applications pending before the FDA for a decade or more. The Sunscreen Innovation Act also seeks to shed some light on the FDA’s review process by requiring the agency to periodically report to Congress on the progress of this effort.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million cases diagnosed every year. A report from the Surgeon General released last month stated that nearly 5 million people in the United States are treated for skin cancers every year, with an annual cost estimated at $8.1 billion. Many of these cases could be prevented by protecting skin from sun exposure, according to the American Cancer Society.