CONGRESSMAN BISHOP ACCEPTS VISIONARY AWARD FOR WORK ON EYE BONDS BILL
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, issued the following statement after receiving the Visionary Award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness for his work as the lead sponsor on the Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act:
“Earlier this week, I humbly accepted the Visionary Award from the Foundation Fighting Blindness for introducing the Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act. There is so much promising research on treatments for blindness, but it sits on shelves waiting for private investors to put it into practice. The Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act creates Eye Bonds that fund this research, so it is no longer collecting dust, but instead changing lives.”
In the United States, there are more than 4 million adults and almost half-a-million children who are blind or have severely impaired vision. Projects supported by Eye Bonds would further research for treatments and cures for a wide range of vision-related conditions, including glaucoma and sickle-cell anemia retinopathy. In addition, Eye Bonds funded research would help with treatment for severe vision trauma that is sadly one of the most common injuries suffered by military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places of war. Research on treatments and cures for age-related macular degeneration, diabetes retinopathy, and many causes of childhood vision loss would also see significant support from Eye Bond funding.
The Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act includes numerous safeguards to ensure taxpayers’ interests are protected and to quickly reimburse taxpayers for the small initial outlay needed to launch the pilot program. The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), would select eligible projects so that only legitimate, viable research would receive funding. Furthermore, taxpayers are repaid first – not last – as researchers advance treatments and repay obligations. The legislation also provides for controls at each stage of this pilot program to maximize taxpayer protections, speed cures, and prevent conflicts of interest.
Eye Bonds would NOT replace existing federal funding to the NEI. The Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act is supported by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, Blinded Veterans of America, and numerous other vision and biomedical-research groups.
The full text of the Faster Treatments and Cures for Eye Diseases Act is here.