WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will request “significant investments” to help eliminate hepatitis C in the United States in its forthcoming budget proposal, according to Francis Collins, the former NIH director leading the project.
Collins declined to provide too many further details before the official budget request later this week, but Rep. Hank Johnson, (D-Ga.), who joined Collins at a STAT event on the subject Tuesday, suggested the request could potentially be as big as $10 billion over five years. Collins also pointed out that the plan “fits nicely” with President Biden’s broader cancer moonshot, an initiative aimed at halving the cancer rate in 25 years, since hepatitis C is one of the leading causes of liver cancer.
“I would like, if it’s possible, to be as bold as possible, and contemplate not just an effort that would improve the situation, but that would eliminate hepatitis C in the United States,” Collins said at the event. “That’s a scary word, and obviously would require a huge investment, to try to reach everybody.”
He also said he’s hoping the initiative would be funded as “mandatory” spending, which would ensure it would not need to be renewed each year by Congress. Johnson, too, referenced a potential request for mandatory spending.
The Biden administration is expected to release more details about its federal budget later this week.
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