Public Access to SunScreens Coalition: House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Passage of Sunscreen Innovation Act a Good First Step, But Congress Needs to Maintain Tight, Enforceable Timelines So FDA Can’t Continue to Drag its Feet
(Washington, D.C.) — The Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) Coalition today applauded the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health for passage of the Sunscreen Innovation Act, H.R. 4250.
The PASS Coalition applauds the bipartisan support of the Sunscreen Innovation Act and the swift action taken by the subcommittee to help address the urgent public health crisis posed by skin cancer, and particularly melanoma. Moving forward however, the Coalition still remains concerned that the FDA continues to push to lengthen timelines to review ingredients it has had almost 12 years already to do so, in some cases, which is unacceptable.
The coalition has worked hard to accommodate FDA’s concerns in the draft vehicle as marked up today, but as doctors, public health advocates and ingredient manufacturers have made clear for the past 18 months, Americans have been waiting too long already for these ingredients to be approved.
Reasonable deadlines for the FDA to complete its review of ingredients need to be adapted when the full committee meets to mark up the legislation to ensure that FDA doesn’t continue to drag its feet at the expense of the public’s health. These deadlines range from eight months for ingredients that have been pending before FDA, in some cases for 12 years, and 12 months for newly submitted ingredients, as contained in the original bill.
American consumers have gone over a decade without the kinds of innovative products our foreign counterparts have enjoyed for years. This unnecessarily long timeline means that consumers have to wait that much longer to get the latest products in their hands.
The Sunscreen Innovation Act (H.R. 4250/S. 2141), was recently introduced by Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) in the House and Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) 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.
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.
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.