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National Institute on Drug Abuse

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

February, 1999


Congressional Affairs


Presidential Action - Bills of Interest

P.L. 105-277 -- The Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999 (H.R. 4328). After enactment of six continuing resolutions, on October 20, 1998, the House, by a vote of 333-95, passed H.R. 4328. This measure provides appropriations funding for eight spending bills, including the Labor, HHS, Education Appropriation, through September 30, 1999. On October 21, the Senate passed the measure by a vote of 65 to 29, and the President signed the bill as P.L. 105-277.

Selected provisions of interest

NIH Appropriations - The bill provides an increase of $1.990 billion for NIH, or a 14.6 percent increase over the FY 98 level, for a total of $15.612 billion, plus $40 million (available in October 1999) for the clinical research center. NIDA funding for FY 99 was $603,274,000 or 14.4% over FY 98.

Alternative Medicine - establishes in statute a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM); repeals the authority of the current Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM); provides NCCAM with grant-making authority and an advisory council; requires establishment of a clearinghouse; and requires a full-time CAM coordinator in each ICD.

Human Embryo Research - prohibits the use of funds in the bill to create human embryos for research purposes, or for research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed under current law for research on fetuses in utero.

Needle Exchanges - bans the use of funds in the bill to carry out any program to distribute sterile needles or syringes for the injection of any illegal drug. Prohibits Promoting Legalization of Controlled Substances - except where there is evidence of therapeutic advantage or that federally sponsored clinical trials are being conducted to determine advantage.

Bioterrorism - concerned that civilian health authorities are ill prepared for bioterrorist attack, Congress provided close to $150 million to several government agencies - mainly CDC and NIH - to stockpile vaccines, develop response plans and study new methods of detecting and treating biological and chemical agents. The funds were included in the DHHS appropriations provisions of the Omnibus bill.

National Foundation for Biomedical Research - $500,000 for the Foundation and continuation of the authority for the Foundation to transfer funds to NIH. The name of the Foundation was changed by the Health Professions Education Partnerships Act of 1998 to the National Foundation for the NIH.

Release of Research Data under FOIA - requires the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) to amend Circular A-110 to ensure that all data produced under research awards be made available to the public through procedures established under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

P.L. 105-248 -- On October 9, 1998, H.R. 4382, the Mammography Quality Standards Reauthorization Act, was signed into law. This legislation, among other things, reauthorizes through FY 2002 such sums as may be necessary for the award of grants for breast cancer screening surveillance research.

P.L. 105-276 - H.R. 4194 -- On October 21, 1998, the President signed H.R. 4194 the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, as P.L. 105-276. This bill contains funding for NIEHS through Superfund for research and for worker training.

P.L. 105-305 - H.R. 3332 -- On October 28, 1998, the President signed the Next Generation Internet Research Act of 1998, becoming P.L.105-305. This legislation amends the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to authorize appropriations for FY 1999 and FY 2000 for government-funded research into high-capacity, high-speed computer networks. NIH becomes one of five agencies authorized to receive funds ($5 million for FY 1999 and $7.5 million for FY 2000) for this purpose. The law directs the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee to report annually to Congress and the President regarding the progress of the NGI program. H.R. 3332 passed the House on September 14, 1998, and the Senate on October 8, 1998.

P.L. 105-340 - S. 1722 -- On October 31, 1998, the President signed into law S. 1722, the Women's Health Research and Prevention Amendments of 1998 (P.L. 105-340). This legislation extends and/or amends various NIH authorities related to women's health research including the following: the drug DES; osteoporosis, Paget's disease, and related disorders; breast cancer and ovarian and related cancers; heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases in women; aging processes in women; and the Office of Research on Women's Health. This legislation also extends and/or amends a variety of CDC authorities regarding women's health.

P.L. 105-362 -- On November 10, 1998, the President signed into law S. 1364, the Federal Reports Elimination Act of 1998. This legislation eliminates numerous NIH reports to Congress, including the Report of the Council on Alzheimer's Disease; Report on the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program; Report of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Report on Family Planning and Population Research; Report of the NICHD Associate Director for Prevention; Report on Health Services Research (Report to Senate and House authorizing committees by NIDA, NIAAA, & NIMH); the Annual Reports of the National Diabetes Advisory Board, the National Digestive Diseases Advisory Board, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Advisory Board; the Public Health Service Report; the Annual Report on Disease Prevention; and the Annual Report on Administrative Expenses.

P.L. 105-392 - S. 1754 - Health Professions Education Partnership Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN), reauthorizes federal health professions education programs and consolidates the 37 programs that currently assist minority and disadvantaged students pursuing health care careers into seven clusters.


Anti-Drug Bill

H.R. 4550 - On September 16, 1998, by a vote of 396 to 9 the House passed a wide-ranging anti-drug bill, H.R. 4550, introduced by Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH) that would have authorized numerous drug prevention and treatment programs. By a voice vote, the House adopted a substitute amendment to alter parts of the bill as introduced. The most significant change deleted a provision that aimed to encourage drug companies to develop anti-addiction medications by extending a company's exclusive right to market certain other drugs. The provision would have allowed pharmaceutical companies that develop and market anti-addiction medications for cocaine or methamphetamine to extend the time during which they are protected from competition under the FDA approval process for a qualifying on-market drug. Other provisions from this bill, such as the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and Drug Free Prisons and Jails, were eventually swept into the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277) under Division D-Drug Demand Reduction Act.


Other Items

Tobacco Settlement

In November 1998, all 46 states that had not previously settled with the tobacco industry signed on to a $206 billion, 25-year agreement that resolves their claim against the tobacco companies for tobacco-related health expenditures under Medicaid. Senator Hatch has agreed to Senator Feinstein's request to hold a hearing on the new tobacco settlement early in the 106th Congress. Senator Feinstein promised to consult with many interested parties, including public health groups and the FDA and review what the settlement between the states and tobacco industry has accomplished.

GAO Review

Senators Campbell (R-CO) and Kohl (D-WI), Chairman and Ranking Minority of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury and General Government, requested a General Accounting Office (GAO) review of ONDCP's Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Plans are to complete the study by June 1999.

NIH Officials Brief Senate Budget Committee Staff

On December 22, 1998, NIH Director, Dr. Harold Varmus, and five institute directors briefed staffers from the Senate Budget committee on how NIH would handle increases that advocates are seeking for NIH in FY 2000. Institute Directors who accompanied Dr. Varmus included Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Director, NIDA; Dr. Francis Collins, Director, NIHGR; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID; Dr. Steven Hyman, Director, NIMH; and Dr. Gerald Fischback, Director, NINDS. Also attending the meeting were NIH Deputy Director, Ruth Kirschstein, NIH Budget Director, Francine Little, and Acting Associate Director for Legislative Policy and Analysis, Roz Gray.

NIDA Officials Brief House Commerce Committee Majority Staff

On November 3, 1998, at the request of majority staff of the House Committee, Dr. Frank Vocci, Director, Medications Development Division (MDD), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), provided an update on the status of current research on anti-addictions medications. Dr. Timothy Condon, Associate Director, NIDA, and Mary Mayhew, NIDA Legislative Contact, accompanied Dr. Vocci.


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