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Medical Research in 2012 a Risk to the United States

Ernie Shannon's picture
Research America

A leading medical research advocacy group is calling for a moratorium on planned spending cuts to U. S. health organizations in late 2012. Research!Amercia Chair John Edward Porter today called for the administration and Congress to pull back from funding cuts that could amount to eight percent for such agencies as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And, a recent public opinion poll commissioned by Porter’s group showed that 77 percent of Americans believe the United States is losing its global competitive edge in science, technology, and innovation. The reductions Porter is referring to would go into effect in October 2012, the start of the 2013 fiscal year.

“As we wrap up a turbulent year for government funded programs, we’re pleased that bipartisan support for medical research remains a hallmark of Congress’ commitment to science and innovation,” said Porter. “Increased funding for federal health agencies will help scientists continue to fight deadly and disabling diseases, enhance preventive care and enable creative solutions to help speed safe and effective medical innovations to patients. But there is still more work ahead as we face potential cuts to the NIH and other agencies in the near future.”

While many federal agencies saw their budgets stagnate or decrease as fiscal year 2012 began in October, the NIH received a $299 million increase while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the recipient of a $38 million raise. The Food and Drug Administration and the National Science Foundation also received modest increases.

“With an eight percent overall budget cut set for 2013, there is immense pressure on Congress to cut critical funding to agencies such as NIH and we must continue to demonstrate the value of this funding for the health and economic wellbeing of our nation,” Porter said. “It is mission-critical that medical research not be subjected to pervasive cuts that could damage our country’s reputation as a leader in health research and delivery.”

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Research!America refers to itself as the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance committed to making research to improve health a higher national priority.

Together, with other member organizations that represent an array of medical, health and scientific fields, Research!America aim to achieve four goals:

1. Achieve funding for medical and health research from the public and private sectors at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion.

2. Better inform the public of the benefits of medical and health research and the institutions that perform research.

3. Motivate the public to actively support medical and health research and the complementary sciences that make advances possible.

4. Promote and empower a more active public and political life by individual members of the research community on behalf of medical and health research, public health, and science overall.