MODDERN Cures: Who, What, and Why?

How can we encourage policymakers to support legislation that promotes innovation in research for medicines that treat unmet medical needs? As you'll see in this blog post, which originally appeared on LillyPad, it's a question that the MODDERN Cures Act can help answer.


Even for those of us within the health care industry, health policy can often sound abstract and complicated. Take, for instance, the MODDERN (Modernizing Our Drug and Diagnostic Evaluation and Regulatory Network) Cures Act. In technical terms, this bill updates patent law to shift the incentive structure for investments in innovation. These changes will make it more attractive for companies to invest in areas such as personalized medicines or those that treat rare diseases. But what does that really mean?

To demystify the policy lingo, here's a MODDERN break down that demonstrates how seemingly-complex legislation can make all the difference to patients.

  • What the MODDERN Cures Act is: It's a policy designed to help patients suffering from rare diseases, whose treatments and cures are developed and approved at a slower pace than those for the more common chronic diseases. MODDERN Cures would transform the development and approval process for new, safe medicines that realize unmet medical needs -these drugs could reach the market at a faster pace.
  • What the MODDERN Cures Act would do: It would establish a "dormant therapies" class for drugs that treat complex conditions with few or non-existent treatments, and allow these therapies additional years for patent and data protection to incentivize their development. It would advance research into personalized medicine by encouraging the development of companion diagnostics tests, helping doctors easily identify appropriate and effective treatments. And, it would allow patients greater and timelier access to newly FDA-approved diagnostic tests.
  • Who supports the MODDERN Cures Act: The National Health Council (NHC), a coalition of over 100 national health-related organizations and 50 of the leading patient advocacy groups, advocates for the development of new treatments for patients suffering from rare diseases. As champions of the policies within the MODDERN Cures Act, NHC recognizes that these changes can speed the development of new and better treatments for patients with chronic diseases and disabilities.
  • Why the MODDERN Cures Act is important: Policies like the MODDERN Cures Act incentivize the development of treatments and cures for unmet medical needs - such as autoimmune diseases, neurological conditions, cancer, and rare diseases. Typically, medicines for these kinds of medical needs take longer than average to develop. Legislation like this could help speed the process along and bring treatments to the hands of patients who desperately need them.

The reintroduction of the MODDERN Cures Act is expected later this year. While the language may appear daunting, the MODDERN Cures Act presents an opportunity to create a life-changing policy for the millions of patients and their families suffering from these chronic, sometimes rare conditions.


Many diseases have no treatment at this time. I pray this bill will pass and speed the process to offer drugs to slow or cure these horrible diseases. 80% of ALS patients die within 2 to 4 years from diagnosis. PLEASE help. Thank you.