Report Paints Grim Picture for Fate of NIH Funding;
ASH Joins Biomedical Research Community in Asking for Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction
(WASHINGTON) – A report released today by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) further crystallizes the impact of devastating, across-the-board budget cuts planned for all federally funded programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that are a direct result of lawmakers’ failure to reach agreement last year on a deficit-reduction proposal. The American Society of Hematology (ASH) is particularly concerned about the impact of these automatic spending cuts, known as “sequestration,” on NIH. According to today’s report, in the absence of new legislation to prevent sequestration, all non-defense discretionary government programs, including NIH, will be subject to across-the-board funding cuts of 8.2 percent – with some programs receiving greater cuts and some lesser – beginning January 2, 2013. The effect of these cuts, which follow 11 years of flat funding for NIH, will be felt by ASH’s more than 14,000 members who heavily rely on NIH funding to carry out life-saving research on deadly blood disorders and cancers.
If anticipated cuts to the NIH budget occur in January 2013, NIH would be unable to fund 2,300 research project grants – nearly one-quarter of new and competing grants – effectively crippling the American biomedical research enterprise. These draconian cuts will cause great harm not only to biomedical researchers, but more importantly to the nation’s physical and fiscal health.
Biomedical research, specifically in hematology, has yielded enormous returns on modest NIH investments over the past decade. Thanks in part to federal research funding, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has become a manageable disease that is easily treated, the vast majority of cases of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) have become curable, and the survival rate for myeloma has nearly doubled.
While the lives saved and the suffering relieved by these discoveries is immeasurable, biomedical research funded by NIH is also a key driver of American economic competitiveness. Other nations look with envy at our drug discovery enterprise, and some such as China are pouring enormous resources into their own efforts that will soon surpass ours. The NIH budget is also an important economic driver that creates jobs. In addition to putting Americans to work and keeping them there, jobs created by new biomedical research projects provide patients with access to health insurance and improve the economy for everyone. NIH funding must be protected to maintain the rate of drug discovery and development that will create new industries and new jobs and help sustain our economy.
No matter the fate of sequestration negotiations, the outlook for sufficient NIH funding is grim. Acknowledging this crisis, ASH recently pledged $9 million to a new, three-year bridge grant program to help preserve the careers of its talented member scientists whose vital research will not be accomplished due to cuts to the NIH budget.
ASH joins thousands of other organizations in advocating for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that will avert devastating cuts not only to NIH but to other critical non-defense discretionary programs that support education, public safety, transportation, and more. ASH will continue its work with Congress and the NIH to ensure that funding for biomedical research remains a priority that must be protected from further cuts.
CONTACT: Andrea Slesinski, 202-552-4927; email@example.com
The American Society of Hematology is the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.
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