Post-Election Report on Support for Medical Research

Campaign for Cures

The Campaign for Cures Election 2016 blog features news, analysis, commentary and data about the presidential candidates and congressional races in key states on issues relevant to medical progress. Janice Lloyd, former USA Today senior editor and health reporter, manages The Campaign for Cures blog. You can reach Janice at campaignforcures@gmail.com.   Follow Campaign for Cures, a national voter education initiative, on Twitter and Facebook and visit www.campaignforcures.org

Post-Election Report on Support for Medical Research

By: 
Janice Lloyd

Going into the 2016 election, a majority of Americans said they wanted the next President and Congress to put a higher priority on finding cures for chronic diseases and discovering new medicines, according to nationwide surveys commissioned by Research!America.

Now that we know the results of the election, we’ll be looking to see what kind of a commitment President-Elect Donald Trump and the next Congress make to  medical and health research, which benefits the economy and millions of adults and children suffering from chronic diseases and other conditions.

Our knowledge about Trump’s goals in these areas is limited because he has focused largely on national security and multiple reforms on a wide range of topics ranging from taxes to immigration and trade.

We do know he supports Alzheimer’s research, plans to fight opioid abuse, and has given financial support to other kinds of disease research.

Of the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer's, an estimated 5.2 million people are age 65 and older, and approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 (younger-onset Alzheimer's). By 2050, the number of people with the disease may nearly triple, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There is no cure or treatment to delay the mind-wasting disease. Trump’s father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.

A STAT review of Trump’s record shows he has helped raise money for a variety of cancer groups, including Susan G. Komen, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

He also said in September that he’d like to cut through red tape at the FDA that he said delays the agency from putting thousands of new drugs on the market.

Some of Trump’s remarks have alarmed the scientific community, according to STAT. When conservative talk radio host Michael Savage offered himself for the job of National Institutes of Health (NIH) director in an October 2015 interview, Trump didn’t reject the idea — and suggested the agency had major, unspecified problems.

Despite Trump’s assertions about the NIH, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have supported increased funding for research.

“Research for health has consistently been a bi-partisan issue as evidenced by recent funding increases for the National Institutes of Health and other federal health agencies and efforts to advance Cures legislation to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of new therapies to patients,’’ said Mary Woolley, President and CEO of Research!America.

“Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il), Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) are among the congressional leaders who strongly believe that support for research is key to addressing the many health challenges afflicting Americans. 

“We look forward to working with the next Congress and the new Administration to ensure that federally-funded research and private sector medical innovation rise to the top of national priorities.”

For more information about Trump’s views on scientific issues, visit www.sciencedebate.org/20answers.

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Presidential Candidates Should Participate in Debate on Science

 
Source: A Research!America and ScienceDebate.org poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in September 2015.

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