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Sunscreen Innovation Act Moves Through Congress

July 17, 2014

PASS Coalition applauds Committee action.

Brighter days may be ahead for the US sun care market and the companies that supply actives in these formulas. The Sunscreen Innovation Act, H.R. 4250 has been approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition applauded the move. The bipartisan legislation was recently introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and John Dingell (D-MI) in the House and Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in the Senate. This legislation will streamline FDA's sunscreen approval process to ensure that new sunscreen ingredients receive a transparent review within a predictable timeframe. This would allow the American public to gain access to the latest safe, effective and innovative sunscreen products to protect against the sun’s most harmful rays.

"Today's swift action taken by the Committee in approving the Sunscreen Innovation Act will help address the urgent public health crisis posed by skin cancer, and particularly melanoma," said Michael Werner, PASS Coalition policy advisor. "American consumers have gone over a decade without the kinds of innovative sunscreen products our foreign counterparts have enjoyed for years. At a time when skin cancer rates have reached epidemic levels, this unnecessarily long timeline means that consumers have to wait that much longer to get the latest products in their hands," Werner said.

The bill includes a transparent review process within a predictable timeline for all sunscreen applicants and the opportunity for Congressional oversight over the process to make sure the process is working as designed. The timelines include: final decisions on pending applications within one year and final decisions on new applications within one and a half years. 

"There is no better time than the height of the summer and Americans' exposure to the sun for Congress to be considering the Sunscreen Innovation Act. The PASS Coalition looks forward to House passage, and Senate action before the August recess," Werner concluded.

The last over-the-counter, (OTC) sunscreen ingredient to be approved by FDA was in the 1990s. Since 2002, eight new sunscreen applications have been filed and are still awaiting review 12 years later. New sunscreen technologies currently awaiting approval in the U.S. have been widely available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, in some cases for more than 15 years.

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