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Sunscreen Innovation Act Moves Through Congress

August 1, 2014

Brighter days may be ahead for the US sun care market and the companies that supply actives for these formulas. The Sunscreen Innovation Act, HR 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; it also will allow the public to gain access to the latest sunscreen products.

“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.”

According to PASS, 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. Timelines include: final decisions on pending applications within one year and final decisions on new applications within one and a half years. 

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 US have been widely available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, in some cases for more than 15 years, according to PASS. 

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