A look at where federal funding for global health R&D comes from.

Background:

The U.S. government is the largest funder of global health R&D in the world. Through the expertise and world class capability of five major agencies (National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and Food and Drug Administration), the U.S. government has invested $12 billion in global health R&D since 2000. This small but impactful investment — representing $1.4 billion or .2% of the five agencies' annual budgets — has enabled the U.S. to maintain cutting edge clinical and research facilities and provide grants to research universities and other research institutions across our nation.

And the investment is working. In addition to supporting research into global killers such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, research dollars go to finding cures for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Not only do NTDs disproportionally affect the poor and vulnerable in developing countries, they affect Americans. Recent spikes in NTDs in the southern United States, along with the rise in West Nile virus cases around the country, are a reminder that global diseases travel, viruses evolve, and Americans are at increasing risk from infectious and emerging diseases.

Putting it in perspective:

While U.S. investment in global health R&D has been significant, it is still a very small fraction of the U.S. government's budget — less than one-tenth of one percent of GDP. To put this into perspective, consider that this amount, on an annual basis, is less than what Americans spend on ice cream in three weeks. In fact, compared to other things that Americans spend money on, global health R&D is miniscule.

Going Forward:

It is critical that the U.S. maintain robust support for global health R&D in order to leverage past investments and ensure that the U.S. remains the world leader in detecting, preventing and treating emerging global diseases. Federal investment helps fill critical gaps in the funding pipeline left by the private sector and NGOs, which may lack the incentive or resources. Working together with private companies and non-profits, U.S. government investment in global health R&D is critical to protecting our human health and contributing to economic stability and growth both here in the U.S. and around the world.

 

For more information about the role that these federal agencies and departments play in supporting global health R&D, please visit: