Press Releases

Bipartisan Group of Congressional Leaders Urges Biden Administration to Continue Addressing Needs of Pregnant and Lactating Women

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Washington, January 21, 2022 | comments

West Palm Beach, FL – Today, Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL-21), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), were joined by 62 bipartisan Members of Congress in sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the extension of the charter for the federal Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC), or to establish a similar advisory committee to continue carrying out PRGLAC’s work.

The letter states in part, “Each year, nearly four million women in the U.S. give birth, and more than three million breastfeed their infants. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), although more than 90 percent of pregnant women report taking a medication during pregnancy, only 1 percent of clinical trials mention the words ‘pregnancy’ or ‘pregnant,’ and only 0.5 percent mention ‘lactation.’ Not enough is known about the effect of most drugs during pregnancy.”

The letter continues, “To address this problem, in 2016, Congress established the federal Task Force on Research Specific to PRGLAC under the 21st Century Cures Act to identify and address gaps in knowledge regarding safe and effective therapies and vaccines for pregnant and lactating women… We urge [HHS] to extend PRGLAC’s charter or establish another advisory committee with a similar range of expertise to ensure continued implementation and monitored progress of the steps recommended by PRGLAC. Oversight from a dedicated group of experts is needed to continue to make progress in establishing therapeutic options for pregnant and lactating women.”

Full text of the letter is available here.

Congresswoman Frankel serves as Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and Congresswomen Herrera Beutler and Roybal-Allard serve as Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care.

Supporting organizations include Society for Women's Health Research, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, March of Dimes, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Epilepsy Foundation.

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