A Publication of WTVP

When President Barack Obama signed the $6.3 billion 21st Century Cures Act into law Dec. 13, he said it would “lead to better years and better lives for millions of Americans."

The bipartisan legislation has several goals, including the expansion of medical research and speeding up approval of new drugs and medical devices.

Proponents cite the difficulty pharmaceutical companies often have getting drugs into the market, given the high cost of research and compliance with FDA regulations. But critics worry that easing those regulations could harm the public if unknown drug side effects and other long-term issues slip through the cracks.

The Cures legislation will significantly improve profit margins for pharmaceutical companies. It will cut the costs of getting drugs through the FDA approval process and improve the opportunities to introduce more brand-name drugs into the marketplace. But will it lower the high cost of medications for the people who need them? That’s the real hardship facing patients.

Some of my concerns include:

Medications have saved lives, and having some processes to expedite treatment for rare diseases and sick patients is not a bad thing. However, we can make provisions for this without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Dr. Pawan Grover has more than 20 years of experience as a medical doctor. He has served as a medical correspondent for CNN, NBC, CBS and PBS and is a graduate of the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. For more information, visit