EP Joins Hands with Groups Expressing Concern about the Impact of Continued Cuts to the NIH on Medical Research Feb 7, 2013
Dear EP Readers,
As the leading publication in the special needs arena, one of EP's core values is the promotion and communication of new and significant biomedical research. It is this body of research that contributes to the quality of life for our readers and supporters. When we learn that budget cuts for NIH research are being considered and implemented, it behooves us to express our concerns. This letter that EP has signed—alongside many national organizations and associations involved in healthcare— demonstrates our commitment to seeing the portals of research remain supported.
Joseph M. Valenzano, Jr. CEO and Rick Rader, MD, Editor in chief
February 7, 2013
The undersigned organizations and institutions, which represent patients, scientists, health care providers, and industry, are gravely concerned about the impact of continued cuts, including sequestration, funding shortfalls in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, and the threat of additional cuts to offset the debt ceiling, on medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the subsequent negative consequences for the health of all Americans.
At a time when we should be investing more in medical research, we have continued to shrink our investment to a point where we are sacrificing real opportunities for discovery of new innovations and medical advances. Declining funding also is eroding our position as the world leader in research and discovery. The NIH serves to improve the health and quality of life for all Americans and spur job creation and economic growth. There is no doubt; the impact of the proposed cut on NIH-funded research will be immediate and devastating. The Senate Budget Committee estimates that sequestration would result in a 5.1 percent reduction in FY 2013 discretionary spending. In a recent interview, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., described the impact of sequestration as a "profound and devastating" blow at a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity. Sequestration will come at the end of a decade that has seen the NIH budget fall by nearly 20 percent after inflation, and on top of an estimated $900 billion in spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act over the next ten years. The impact of sequestration would be exacerbated because it would occur in the middle of the fiscal year, forcing researchers to immediately incur drastic budget cuts and abandon potentially life-enhancing research.
The undersigned groups and institutions also are concerned that continued cuts will negatively affect job creation and seriously jeopardize America's leadership in medical research. An analysis released in April 2012 by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) notes that that biomedical research enterprise supports a significant workforce, such that, "the impact on employment and local economies will be immediate and severe." A March 2012 report from United for Medical Research estimates a 7.8 percent reduction in the NIH budget will "result in 33,000 fewer jobs across the U.S. and a $4.5 billion decrease in economic activity." In May 2012, Research!America warned that sequestration will negatively impact U.S. competitiveness just as other nations are aggressively boosting their investments in research and development.
If we are to address the health challenges of an aging and increasingly diverse population, and remain a vibrant force in the global economy, America needs more investment in medical research, not less. We respectfully urge Congress and the Administration to work together on a solution that preserves the nation's investment in medical research and the health of the American people.
Joseph M. Valenzano, Jr. CEO
Rick Rader, MD, Editor in chief