U.S. Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development Report, 2013-2015


U.S. investments in medical and health research and development (R&D) grew by 13.3% over a three year period (2013 – 2015), according to Research!America’s new investment report. However, medical and health R&D represents a small fraction of total spending on health. Currently, the U.S. spends less than 5 cents of every health dollar on R&D to prevent, treat, and cure disease. More than half of Americans (56%) say that is not enough, a recent public opinion survey shows. 

Industry, including pharmaceutical, medical technolo­gy, biotechnology and health IT companies, invests more in R&D than other sectors. In 2015, industry invested 64.7% of total spending, followed by the federal government (22.6%). However, “one sector cannot do it alone,” Dr. William Hait, Global Head of Research & Development at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, said. “Initiatives like the cancer moonshot enable us to bring the best minds together, and collaborate to disrupt the progression of disease, treat it more effectively, find cures and ultimately prevent it.”

The majority of federal investments is channeled through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which funds research at universities and businesses in every state, as well as research on NIH’s campuses. The Honorable John Edward Porter noted in the report that “medical discovery, development and delivery requires robust and sustained investments in federal health agencies. If we are to ensure research and innovation continue to keep pace with saving and improving lives, and advancing the level of scientific opportunity, federal funding must be increased and sustained.”

A majority of Americans (76%) say that basic science should be supported by the federal government, and nearly two-thirds say they would pay an extra $1 in taxes per week if that money would go toward health research. More than half of Americans (54%) say there is not enough collaboration between scientists in academia, government, and industry.

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter