Aurora, CO - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today hosted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb for a tour of local health facilities in Aurora, Colorado. Bennet and Gottlieb spoke with leaders in the Colorado bioscience industry, toured the innovative UCHealth facilities, met families whose children have a better chance at fighting cancer because of a Bennet law, and learned more about the opioid crisis in Colorado.
"It was an honor to host Dr. Gottlieb in Colorado to meet with health leaders from across the state," Bennet said. "We face significant challenges in our country's health care system, but today we saw evidence of the innovative and effective solutions being pioneered right here in Colorado. Our discussions with the bioscience community and addiction health professionals brought to light new challenges and ideas for moving the needle in these fields. We also lauded the passage of the RACE for Children Act, which is a critical step to provide even more innovative treatments for children battling cancer. It was inspiring to meet with such determined and dedicated professionals, and I look forward to working with the FDA on some of the issues that we explored today. "
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to join Senator Bennet today and meet with health care leaders in Colorado to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face," Gottlieb said. "Owing to recent legislation that advances new pathways for bringing safe and effective medical products to the market more efficiently, and a moment of tremendous scientific promise, we are at a unique point in medicine. We have the chance to change the course of a wider range of disease, and alter the trajectory of many illnesses. I had the opportunity to speak today with families that are facing enormous challenges - whether they are battling opioid addiction or have a child facing cancer. And I met some of those children. It reinforces the vital mission I and the dedicated staff at FDA work on every day. Senator Bennet's work with Senator Rubio on the RACE for Children Act is an important step in enabling FDA to fulfill that mission."
Bennet and Gottlieb attended three events to learn more about the opioid epidemic in Colorado. They first visited theUCHealth Emergency Room, which is implementing new protocols to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions. They spoke with physicians, nurses, and other providers about alternative pain management techniques and how to better use the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to track prescriptions and monitor for abuse. Next, Bennet and Gottlieb visited the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the Anschutz Medical Campus for a roundtable discussion. Bennet and Gottlieb spoke with providers about expanding treatment options in rural areas, opportunities in harm reduction, and methods to encourage better prescribing practices. Finally, Bennet and Gottlieb stopped by for a meeting of the Colorado legislature's Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee. They spoke with Colorado's leadership about the scale of the epidemic in Colorado, and Dr. Gottlieb provided an update of the FDA's approach to tackle this crisis.
Bennet and Gottlieb also toured Children's Hospital Colorado where they lauded the passage of the RACE for Children Act and met with families and children fighting cancer. Bennet co-authored the RACE for Children Act, which supports the development of innovative and promising cancer drugs for children. Bennet and Gottlieb met with a child cancer patient who was able to receive access to life-saving medication in a clinical trial-an example of how more kids can benefit from this legislation. They also toured the hospital's facilities and learned more about their pediatric oncology center.
Earlier in the day, Bennet and Gottlieb hosted a roundtable with leader of Colorado's bioscience industry. Bennet moderated the discussion, in partnership with the University of Colorado and the Colorado BioScience Association. Bennet hosted a similar event with Commissioner Califf in 2016 and Commissioner Hamburg in 2011.