Sequestration -- Now What?

As you have probably heard, the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, went into effect on March 1.  PAN advocates, in coordination with thousands of research advocates, worked tirelessly to prevent these cuts from going into effect.  Advocates called, emailed, and visited their Members of Congress to inform them of the impact sequestration will have on biomedical research and drug development. 

While our message was heard clearly on Capitol Hill, Congress has yet to find a solution to stop sequestration.  Federal agencies that are critical to finding new treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Defense (DoD), now must deal with an approximate five percent cut for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013.  The effects of sequestration will not be felt immediately or all at once, but the result could be destructive to biomedical research and drug development.  For instance:

  • NIH-funded researchers were informed that sequestration could mean that their research grants will not be funded at the full amount and that plans for new grants could be delayed or canceled altogether;
     
  • The cuts to the FDA mean that review of new drugs could be slowed.  The Parkinson’s community relies on the FDA to quickly approve new drugs and devices that will improve quality of life or cure Parkinson’s disease; and
     
  • The DoD Parkinson’s research program (NETPR), which invests in research to protect our troops, is also cut under sequestration, meaning promising new ideas may go unfunded.

PAN thanks you, our dedicated advocates, for contacting your Members of Congress, writing letters to the editors and op-eds, and spreading the word in your local communities.  The fight is far from over!  If Congress does not act, sequestration will continue for the next ten years.  We must continue to advocate to ensure that underfunding of these integral programs does not become the status quo.  There are many budget decisions pending in the coming months, and PAN will provide regular updates.  In the meantime, please continue to contact your Members of Congress to ask them to support funding for the NIH, FDA, and DoD Parkinson’s research program.  Take action!