Durbin Meets With Director Of The National Cancer Institute & NIH Director Nominee, Dr. Monica Bertagnolli

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, current Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and nominee to serve as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  During their meeting, they discussed House Republican threats to cut NIH funding, women’s health research, shortages of critical cancer drugs, and the rising costs of prescription drugs. 

“The National Institutes of Health is the preeminent medical research institution in the world.  When it comes to discovering cures for diseases, new medications, it’s the National Institutes of Health,” said Durbin.“If confirmed as NIH Director, I’m hopeful Dr. Bertagnolli will continue to work with Congress to find ways to ensure stable, reliable, robust funding increases for medical research so that we can better help patients with cancer, ALS, heart disease, and numerous other chronic conditions and diseases.” 

A photo of the meeting is available here

Durbin has long been a strong advocate for robust medical research.  His legislation, the American Cures Act, would provide annual budget increases of five percent plus inflation at America’s top four biomedical research agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Health Program, and the Veterans Medical and Prosthetics Research Program.  With the support of former Republican Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Democratic Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Durbin has helped secure a nearly 60 percent funding increase for NIH over the past eight years.

In a letter, Durbin recently urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf to use the Agency’s authority to immediately address the ongoing shortage of critical cancer drugs that are threatening the lives of patients nationwide.  Shortly after sending the letter, FDA announced they would allow for the importation of these drugs from China.