Casey Warns Against Cut in Medical Research

Proposed Cut Would Cost Jobs, Hurt Economy and Impede

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged congressional leaders to reconsider their proposed $1 billion cut to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, Senator Casey outlined the negative impacts to public health and the economy such a cut would cause.

“Cutting the NIH budget will have lasting, long-term damage on the economy, the health of the American people and the future of our Nation's ability to remain a global leader in biomedical research,” wrote Senator Casey. “Scientists and researchers across the country will have to close their labs and lay off their staff, which will force valuable research efforts to halt and discourage a new generation of doctors and scientists from pursuing medical research. An entire generation of researchers could vanish without sustained investment in the NIH.”

Last year, Senator Casey led an effort to increase NIH funding by 11.9%. In his letter today, Senator Casey noted that studies show that a one dollar increase in public basic science funding stimulates $3.15 in pharmaceutical investment, and the spillover effects of investment are also significant, with each dollar of NIH funding generating twice as much in state economic output.

A copy of the letter is below.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers:

I write today to urge you to reconsider the proposed $1 billion cut to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. Such a cut would have a dramatic and negative effect on America's ability to support some of the best biomedical research in the world.

The NIH is our country's premier institution for medical research and the single largest source of biomedical research funding in the world. It offers our best hope for treating or curing debilitating diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and so many other illnesses American families battle every day. Over 83% of the NIH's budget is awarded through tens of thousands of competitive grants to over 325,000 researchers at universities, medical schools and research institutions in every state across the country. These grants fund basic medical research that explains how the human body works and translational research that turns laboratory findings into interventions that doctors can apply to treat their patients.

Additionally, biomedical research is an economic driver, spurring job growth and private investment in research and development. Studies indicate that a $1 increase in public basic science funding stimulates $3.15 in pharmaceutical investment, and the spillover effects of investment are also significant, with each dollar of NIH funding generating twice as much in state economic output.

Cutting the NIH budget will have lasting, long-term damage on the economy, the health of the American people and the future of our Nation's ability to remain a global leader in biomedical research. Scientists and researchers across the country will have to close their labs and lay off their staff, which will force valuable research efforts to halt and discourage a new generation of doctors and scientists from pursuing medical research. An entire generation of researchers could vanish without sustained investment in the NIH.

In closing, I request that you alter your proposal to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health and maintain its current level of funding for FY 2011. I agree that long-term debt and deficits are not sustainable. However, cuts to the NIH budget will severely compromise vital medical research and activity at facilities in Pennsylvania and across the country.


Sincerely,


Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator


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