U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has introduced H.R. 5750 to Congress, known as the Orphan Product Extensions Now Accelerating Cures & Treatment — or the OPEN ACT.
The bill would incentivize drug makers and innovators to repurpose major market drugs for life-threatening, rare diseases and pediatric cancers, the Palm Harbor Republican said, which would open the door to development of hundreds of treatments for rare disease patients.
“There are over 7,000 rare diseases, impacting 40 million Americans — that is nearly 1 in 10 people,” Bilirakis said in a statement. More than 95 percent of those diseases have no treatments, because each rare disease impacts just a small number of patients.
“My bill will leverage the free market to incentivize drugs to be repurposed to treat rare diseases,” Bilirakis said. “The OPEN ACT has the potential to result in hundreds of new drugs and treatments for individuals with rare diseases, as well as a new surge in biotechnology jobs and investments.
“This bill can help millions of people by ensuring medications are safe and effective for rare conditions, and can be reimbursed through insurance coverage.”
The inspiration for the bill on the importance of repurposing drugs came during his 21st Century Cures Roundtable he hosted last summer.