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Medical Research Advocates Urge Action to Avert Harm to Nation’s Health

For immediate release

Contacts:
David Moore (Ad Hoc Group), 202-828-0559
Lynn Marquis (Coalition for Life Sciences), 301-347-9309
Jennifer Zeitzer (FASEB), 202-320-1422
Anna Briseno (Research!America), 571-482-2710

Washington, D.C., March 1, 2013 – The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, Coalition for Life Sciences (CLS), FASEB, and Research!America, which represent millions of patients, scientists, and health care providers, are deeply concerned about the impact on the nation’s health resulting from across-the-board cuts to medical research funding implemented today under the statutorily-mandated sequestration.

The inability of the Administration and Congress to agree on a responsible alternative to sequestration means that funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be cut by 5.1 percent this year alone.  Since this cut occurs five months into the fiscal year, its impact will be closer to a 9 percent reduction.

Sequestration represents only the latest threat to the viability of this nation’s medical research enterprise.  NIH has lost one-fifth of its purchasing power over the past decade.  The spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act and the sequestration mandated under the same bill will further erode our nation’s ability to support a medical research enterprise that is capable of taking full advantage of existing and emerging scientific opportunities.  Sequestration will diminish the hope that medical research provides to patients with serious diseases, not only in this country but around the world. 

Our country still has the most robust medical research capacity in the world, but that capacity simply cannot weather repeated blows like this one.  We urge you not to jeopardize our competitive edge in medical research and ultimately weaken our nation’s ability to compete in an increasingly innovation-based global marketplace. 

Perhaps one of the greatest concerns is the impact these continued cuts will have on the next generation of scientists, who will see training funds slashed and the possibility of sustaining a career in research diminished.

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 protects the health of the American people.

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The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research is a coalition of more than 300 patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry that support enhancing the federal investment in the biomedical, behavioral, and population-based research conducted and supported by the NIH.

The Coalition for the Life Sciences is an alliance of six non-profit professional organizations working together to foster public policies that advance basic biological research and its applications in medicine and other fields.

FASEB is composed of 26 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States.

Research!America is a public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans.