The Sunscreen Innovation Act Heads to the President’s Desk for Signature

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Senate version of the Sunscreen Innovation Act (S.2141) by unanimous consent. The next stop for the legislation, introduced earlier this year, is the President’s desk for his signature.

"Today’s passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act is the culmination of almost a years’ worth of hard work by Congress 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.

“Today’s passage brings us one step closer to a streamlined and transparent review process for innovative sunscreen ingredients,” said Wendy Selig, President & CEO of the Melanoma Research Alliance. “We are grateful for the collaborative effort to get this bipartisan bill passed, even at a time when achieving strong bipartisan action is challenging. This effort would not have been possible without the leadership of the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition, a unique group comprised of both the nonprofit and for profit sectors.”

The PASS Coalition praises champions Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Representative John Dingell (D-MI), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), 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 Sunscreen Innovation Act 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 U.S. 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 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.

Once signed by the President, the bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250/S. 2141) would streamline the approval process for new sunscreen ingredients to ensure that new sunscreen products receive a transparent review within a predictable timeframe.

The PASS Coalition looks forward to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implementing the new law and approving the eight pending sunscreen ingredients by the end of 2015. 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.

“Americans lack access to the latest sunscreen ingredients, which have been widely available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, in some cases for over 15 years. The Sunscreen Innovation Act will ensure FDA approves the latest sunscreens in a predictable timeframe, and enable future generations of sunscreen products to reach American consumers in a timely fashion,” Werner concluded.

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