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ASH President Responds to White House's FY2019 Budget Request

(WASHINGTON, February 13, 2018) — Yesterday, the White House released a fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request that includes funding to address the nation’s opioid crisis and demonstrates a commitment to accelerating research in areas such as regenerative medicine, specifically highlighting efforts like genome editing to conquer sickle cell disease and other genetic blood disorders. This proposal, however, would disrupt funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by effectively freezing funding for the agency at a level that falls below what Congress has proposed for even FY 2018. The proposal also includes a severe cut in funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These agencies play a vital role in supporting much of the world’s hematology-related biomedical research and in supporting programs to prevent and control clotting, bleeding, and other hematologic disorders. 

ASH President Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, issued the following statement:

“We appreciate that the administration has taken action to curb the over-prescription and abuse of opioid medications but implore that the response be measured, allowing patients with painful, chronic conditions — like blood cancers and sickle cell disease — to maintain access for acute and chronic pain management. 

“We are also pleased that the administration recognizes how important it is to support biomedical research using cutting-edge technologies like genome editing techniques to treat and potentially cure genetic disorders. It is encouraging to see that policymakers recognize just how close we are to conquering chronic blood disorders like sickle cell disease and hemophilia, and to commit financial support to these research endeavors.

“While we applaud this proactive approach to public health and scientific progress, it is incredibly disheartening to see other programs within HHS that are vital to hematology research in financial peril. ASH calls on appropriators to continue to support scientific innovation as they consider this proposal from the White House."

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Stephen Fitzmaurice American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4927