HHS creates task force to encourage medical technology innovation

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has announced that the department is forming an internal task force to weigh new ideas and promote new solutions to encourage innovation in health care and to speed the development of effective new medical technologies, such as drug and biological products and medical devices.

The task force will involve HHS’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Secretary Thompson has charged the task force with issuing a report this year on appropriate steps that can be taken across the department to speed the development and availability of new medical technologies.

“This task force will look for opportunities across the department to promote speedier access to new innovative medical technologies that can improve people’s health and save lives,” Secretary Thompson said. “Often, a new technology must clear several hurdles in different parts of HHS before it can reach consumers. By better coordinating this process across HHS, we can streamline the way we do business and make safe, effective medical technologies more quickly and readily available to Americans who could benefit from them.”

To assist the task force’s efforts, HHS is seeking comments from the public on how to stimulate innovation in medical technologies. HHS will accept comments until August 23. A notice explaining the comment period and how to file comments will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, May 24. Electronic comments will be accepted at http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.

The task force’s efforts will build on similar efforts underway at the FDA and other agencies, with a goal of improving coordination across agencies. The task force’s participants will include CDC Director Julie Gerberding, M.D.; CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D.; Acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D.; and NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. Dr. Crawford will serve as the task force’s chair. http://www.hhs.gov


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