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President Obama Signs Sunscreen Innovation Act

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President Obama Signs Sunscreen Innovation Act

The Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition applauds President Barack Obama for signing the Sunscreen Innovation Act (S.2141). The PASS Coalition looks forward to working with the Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the new law is implemented quickly and the 12-year sunscreen backlog is cleared so that Americans have access to the latest sunscreen ingredients by the summer of 2015.

"The signing of the Sunscreen Innovation Act by President Barack Obama is the culmination of persistent, bipartisan work by Congress and stakeholders to provide Americans with access to the latest sunscreen products to help curb future cases of skin cancer, particularly melanoma," said Michael Werner, PASS Coalition Policy Advisor.

The PASS Coalition thanks Congressional champions Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Representative John Dingell (D-MI), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the full House Energy & Commerce Committee, the full Senate HELP Committee, as well as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for their persistent work on this issue and enacting the Sunscreen Innovation Act during the Lame Duck session of Congress.

“We are confident that the new law will enable Americans to have greater choice when it comes to protecting their skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays,” Werner said.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer—including melanoma—than the combined incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. On average, one person dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest of the skin cancers because of its ability to move quickly and spread to distant organs in the body, and melanoma rates are rising dramatically across demographics. Over the past 40 years, melanoma rates have increased 800% among young women and 400% among young men.

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.

With President Obama’s approval of the bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act, FDA must now work with applicants, Congress and stakeholders to implement the new law. FDA must render a decision on the eight pending sunscreen application according to statutory timelines created by the legislation, with some decisions expected as quickly as six months from enactment.

“The President’s approval of the Sunscreen Innovation Act demonstrates that the White House and Congress agree that FDA should ensure all sunscreens receive a transparent review within a predictable timeframe. With this law, Congress has helped answer the U.S. Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. The PASS Coalition and other stakeholders will now focus on working with FDA to guarantee the new law is implemented as quickly as possible,” Werner concluded.

The PASS Coalition, public health groups, leading dermatologists, sunscreen ingredient manufacturers, key opinion leaders, skin cancer advocates, and the Congress will work together to ensure FDA is held accountable and meets the timeline requirements under the Sunscreen Innovation Act.