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Biomedical Research Funding Declines

Wed, 01/13/2010 - 5:47am

The rate of increase for funding of biomedical research in the U.S. has slowed since 2005, and the level of funding from the National Institutes of Health and industry appears to have decreased by two percent in 2008, after adjustment for inflation, according to an article in the January 13 issue of JAMA.

“Biomedical research is valued highly by individuals, governments, foundations and corporations. Research is seen as a source of more effective treatments and preventive measures and as a route to political policy, economic development and new commercial products,” the authors write. In 2005, the authors reported results of a study that indicated total public and private financial support of U.S. biomedical research increased substantially during the preceding decade, with a doubling after adjustment for inflation between 1994 and 2003.

Researchers found that total funding for biomedical research increased from $75.5 billion in 2003 to $101.1 billion in 2007. Adjustment for inflation indicated an increase of 14 percent from 2003 to 2007.

Funding data for 2008 were available only for the NIH and industry, and totaled $88.8 billion. The corresponding total for 2007 for the NIH and industry was $86.4 billion and when adjusted to 2008 dollars is $90.2 billion, indicating that real (adjusted for inflation) funding for biomedical research from the NIH and industry decreased from $90.2 billion in 2007 to $88.8 billion in 2008.

The researchers add that, as in the previous study, the industry remained the largest contributor to biomedical research, accounting for 58 percent of all expenditures in 2007, and the NIH remained the second-largest contributor, accounting for 27 percent of expenditures. Adjusted for inflation, NIH contributions decreased by 8.6 percent from 2003 to 2007 and total federal funding increased by 0.7 percent, compared to total federal funding increasing by nearly 100 percent from 1994-2003. Support from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies increased by 25 percent from 2003 to 2007 when adjusted for inflation.

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