U.S. Spending Less on Health Research Against Rising Health Costs—In Sept. 13 JAMA

Less than Six Cents of Every Health Dollar Spent on Research in 2005
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

WASHINGTON—Sept. 12, 2006—The U.S. investment in health-related research grew a modest 2.2% in 2005, much slower than the 7.4% growth in health costs, according to a report released today by Research!America. The report is covered in the September 13 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The nation spent approximately $111 billion last year on research to find new ways to treat, cure and prevent disease and disability. That amount represents a decrease relative to total health costs. For every dollar spent on health overall, 5.5 cents went to research in 2005, compared to 5.8 cents in 2004-the smallest portion since 2001.

"This is a trend we cannot ignore, and one we must reverse," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, chair of Research! America. "With strong concerns among policy makers and the business community that U.S. competitiveness is at risk, we cannot afford to cut back on investment in medical, health and scientific research, for the sake of our nation's economy or our health."

The report, "2005 Investment in U.S. Health Research," finds that growth in spending on health-related research by the public and private sectors began to level off in 2005:

  • The largest federal agency that funds health-related research, the National Institutes of Health, saw its budget remain flat at $28 billion in 2004 and 2005. Its actual spending power declined after inflation.
  • The combined health research budgets of NIH and other federal agencies were essentially flat from 2004 to 2005.
  • Industry spending, which has for several years exceeded federal research spending, remained mostly flat, at $61 billion in 2005 and $59 billion in 2004.
  • Health research funded by universities, independent research institutes, voluntary health associations, foundations and state and local governments combined was almost $13 billion in 2005, up from $12 billion in 2004.

A 2006 Research!America poll finds that 58% of the public say increasing U.S. funding for medical and health research is essential to the country's future health and economic prosperity. The same percentage believes the U.S. should spend at least 7 cents of every health dollar on research.

"People realize that long-term and sustained investments in research are required to keep ahead of the national and global concerns threatening America's health," said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America. "Rather than cut back on research funding, the nation's leaders need to capitalize on years of proactive investment and expand the country's health research capacity."

The report was compiled by Stacie Propst, PhD, director of science policy, and Emily Connelly, coordinator of science policy, for Research!America.

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, it is supported by more than 500 member organizations, which represent more than 125 million Americans.


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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers