Update: Trump's Early Plan to Advance Research, Reform FDA

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

Update: Trump's Early Plan to Advance Research, Reform FDA

Janice Lloyd

While little is known about President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for investing in biomedical research and building a team to advise him on diseases impacting millions of Americans, we can outline a few new findings and discussions on these matters that have taken place since last week’s election.

For starters, there is Trump’s new website www.greatagain.gov, in which he lists these two priorities, among others.

“With the assistance of Congress and working with the States, as appropriate, the Administration will act to:

--Advance research and development in healthcare.

--Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products.”

In addition, Trump has also promised to crack down on the opioid crisis by reeling in doctors who push the medications. Trump hasn’t explained how, focusing mostly since he’s been elected on how he’ll transform the Affordable Care Act.

In a post-election article last week in STAT, under the headline “Fearful of Trump administration, many in research call for a tutorial for the president,” the reporter wrote that concern researchers have over what the Trump administration will mean for science “reflects what physicians and researchers see as the President-elect’s suspicion of, and even antipathy toward, empirical evidence that does not fit his ideology, such as Trump’s assertion that human-caused climate change is a hoax.”

Trump has at least one close advisor, Newt Gingrich, the article goes on, who does support science. In an op-ed piece that ran in the New York Times in April 2015, Gingrich called for a doubling of the budget for the National Institutes of Health.

Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, wrote: “We are in a time of unimaginable scientific and technological progress. By funding basic medical research, Congress can transform our fiscal health, and our personal health, too.”  

Because tax reform is one of his top three priorities, Trump will have to weigh all his priorities when it comes to investing and convince Congress to come up with funding.

Appointments and issues to watch:

--Trump has many key appointments to make, including selecting the next heads of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services, which may influence future research on topics like gun violence, emergency for outbreak like Zika and pollution-related illness.

--His plans to reform immigration could impact science and the willingness or ability of foreign science and medical students to study, train and stay in the U.S.

According to the STAT article, “The number of graduate students in science and engineering rose 5.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, the latest figures available, according to the National Science Foundation, from 570,300 to 601,883. Much of that increase reflected a years-long rise in the number of foreign graduate students on temporary visas, which grew 7.4 percent from 2012 to 2013 and 16 percent from 2013 to 2014. At many U.S. biomedical labs, they constitute a majority of the bench talent.”

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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.