Cooper, Lummis Reintroduce Research for All Act
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would bring gender equality to essential aspects of medical research.
First introduced by Cooper last year, the Research for All Act would require the inclusion and separate analysis of male and female animals, tissues and cells in research conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While NIH has taken positive steps in this direction, current law does not require researchers to study female animals when conducting basic medical research.
“‘Mad Men’ may be ending soon, but medical research is still stuck in the ‘60s,” Rep. Cooper said. “Women deserve good medicine just as men do. Science needs to serve both men and women.”
“Medical research continues to progress, but as it does so, we need to ensure that we do not cut corners that could cost those being treated,” Rep. Lummis said. “Data tell us men and women react differently to varying medical treatments. The Research for All Act requires thorough research to ensure viable and effective medicines for both men and women. One sex should not be excluded from testing when it could mean the difference between effective treatment and harm to health.”
As researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said last year: “Medical research that is either sex- or gender-neutral or skewed to male physiology puts women at risk for missed opportunities for prevention, incorrect diagnoses, misinformed treatments, sickness and even death.”
Women compose more than half the U.S. population, but most medical research focuses exclusively on men. “60 Minutes” featured the issue last year and explored the consequences.
For example, the unique way women metabolize drugs was ignored when researchers determined the dosage for Ambien sleeping pills; as a result, the initial recommended dosage was double what it should have been for women.
Additionally, cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of all Americans, but only one-third of subjects in cardiac clinical trials are women.
Cooper’s bill would help alleviate such disparities, and it promotes men’s health, too. A recent diabetes drug study suggested that the drug may lower women’s risk of heart failure but increase men’s risk. Meanwhile, evidence suggests common blood pressure and antibiotic medication are less effective for men.
In addition to requiring NIH to study female subjects and analyze sex differences in basic research, Cooper’s bill directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to guarantee that clinical drug trials for expedited drug products are sufficient to determine safety and effectiveness for both men and women.
The Research for All Act is supported by numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, National Center for Health Research, National Organization for Women, National Women’s Health Network and the Society for Women’s Health Research.
American Academy of Nursing
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
American Lung Association
American Medical Student Association
American Medical Women’s Association
Annie Appleseed Project
Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Breast Cancer Action
Center for Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists
Center for Women Policy Studies
Connecticut Center for Patient Safety
HADASSAH, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
The Mended Hearts, Inc.
MRSA Survivors Network
National Center for Health Research
National Organization for Women
National Physicians Alliance
National Women’s Health Network
Northwestern University Specialized Center of Research (SCOR)
OWL – The Voice of Women 40+
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
SCAI – Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR)
The TMJ Association, Ltd.
Women’s Heart Alliance
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease