Research!America report indicates federal research funding lags behind need

A report issued by Research!America, Truth and Consequences: Health R&D Spending in the U.S. (FY11-12), estimates that while health-related research and development (R&D) spending increased by $4.3 billion between Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 and 2012, federal R&D funding remains “woefully inadequate” to address health threats and global competitiveness.

Health-related federal R&D funding rose most sharply in FY 2012, boosted by funding increases to both the National Science Foundation ($315 million increase; 18% above FY 2011) and the Food and Drug Administration ($152 million increase; 60% above FY 2011), but during the same period, R&D funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) only increased by 0.6%. Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, noted that this very small increase to NIH was insufficient, adding, “New preventive, diagnostic and treatment measures are desperately needed to delay and ultimately overcome tragic chronic diseases, the main driver of health care costs. Policy makers have to step up to the plate and provide robust funding levels for research.”

The report includes a case study on federal Parkinson’s disease research, commenting that cutting federal funding for Parkinson’s research as a deficit-cutting decision would likely be a counterproductive move. With the costs associated with Parkinson’s expected to “skyrocket” to $18.5 billion per year by 2050i, the report suggests that stagnant research funding could cripple both public and private innovation, leaving few alternatives to support a growing need for effective research.

The report further highlights the funding contributions made by philanthropic and non-industry sources, but cautions that underestimating the value of federally supported medical research funding could have detrimental effects on both the economy and public health.

Please click here to read the full Research!America report.

i Kowal et al. The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease in the United States. Movement Disorders, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2013.


Date originally posted:  January 24, 2014.