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Research Dollars at Risk in Proposed Budget

Tuesday, March 21, 2017  
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The Trump administration's proposed budget blueprint calls for cutting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by $5.8 billion, or nearly 20 percent, in fiscal 2018 compared with this fiscal year.

According to the Washington Business Journal, Universities and nonprofit organizations throughout the region have directly benefited from research grants provided by the NIH, a federal agency that could see its budget on the chopping block next year under Trump's new budget plan. It puts at stake more than 5,000 active NIH grants totaling $4.7 billion to D.C., Maryland and Virginia beneficiaries, causing alarm in the region's scientific community.

This will hurt recent advances in biomedical research against diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, said Jeff Gallagher, CEO of Virginia Bio.

"We pull back like this right now and no matter how much reorganization and refocusing we do, the rest of the world is going to zoom ahead, make those advances and we're going to take second place. Our citizens are going to get the cures later and to a lesser extent," Gallagher said. "This is going to wreak havoc on what we can do now and really destroy a generation of scientists."

A statement released from BIO Senior Vice President for Communications Kenneth Lisaius after the announcement on Friday said “While we are still reviewing today’s budget blueprint, we have initial concerns with the proposed reductions in the budgets for biomedical research, public health, and for agencies that play an important role in promoting innovations in agricultural, environmental, and human health. We are encouraged by other language in the budget blueprint that seeks to improve the regulatory environment for such innovations. As regards to user fee programs, we look forward to working with the President and Congress to preserve the commitments reflected in the carefully negotiated PDUFA VI goals letter, and ensuring that this vital program is reauthorized in a timely manner. We look forward to learning more about the President’s proposals to improve the FDA’s ability to perform its essential public health mission.”

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