Press Releases

ACR Statement on 21st Century Cures Act

While Praising Medical Research Funding in 21st Century Cures Act, Rheumatologists Urge Congress to Create Arthritis Program at Department of Defense Given Disease Prevalence Among Veterans

Statement from Dr. Sharad Lakhanpal, MBBS, MD; President of the American College of Rheumatology:

"The American College of Rheumatology(ACR) commends the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which contains vital funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next decade.

"At a time when arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affect nearly one in four Americans and are the nation's leading cause of disability, U.S. investment in medical research is critical to expedite new treatments and breakthroughs that will ease pain and suffering for millions of Americans living with these debilitating diseases.

"While we are pleased that the 21st Century Cures Act will infuse additional, much-needed funding to the NIH to support medical research across the healthcare spectrum, we also know that more can and should be done to help Americans who are disproportionately impacted by arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

"Today, arthritis is the leading cause of disability among U.S. veterans and the second most common medical reason for medical discharge from the U.S. Army.  One in three veterans is diagnosed with arthritis, compared with one in five members of the general U.S. population.

"Despite epidemic-level rates of arthritis in our Armed Forces and the burgeoning cost of this disease to the U.S. military, there is currently no dedicated Department of Defense budget for medical research on arthritis.

"As Congressional leaders turn their attention to budget appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year, we urge them to prioritize the creation of a dedicated $20 million arthritis research program at the Department of Defense so that we can better meet the care needs of the thousands of active duty and veteran members of our Armed Forces who live with arthritis."

Jocelyn Givens
404-633-3337, ext. 810
jgivens@rheumatology.org

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The American College of Rheumatology provides education, research, advocacy and practice management support to more than 6,400 U.S. rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. In doing so, the ACR advocates for high-value, high-quality healthcare policies and reforms that will ensure safe, effective, affordable and accessible rheumatology care.

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