Federal funds should go to medicine-makers

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., this year proposed that the U.S. spend $150 billion more over 10 years on biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. Two experts weigh in on the bill.

Is more federal funding for the National Institutes of Health the best bang for the buck when it comes to using precious tax dollars to advance public health? No.

The NIH budget is about $30 billion. But what does that buy? Where do discoveries that advance public health really come from? Some do come from NIH-funded research — but not nearly the majority. The engine of innovation is the biopharmaceutical industry, which spends in excess of $50 billion annually on research and development. It's not a competition; the NIH and industry complement each other's efforts. But context matters.

The NIH focuses on basic research, the study of fundamental aspects of phenomena without specific applications. The biopharmaceutical industry addresses most of its R&D toward clinical research, science focused on the actual development of new medicines. The NIH provides grants to academic institutions. Industry employs the scientists who do the work and, increasingly, funds academic research.


 
Sign Up for Our Email Newsletter

RECENT NEWS

War on Vaping Threatens Public Health

War on Vaping Threatens Public Health

Will the government hamstring what is potentially the most important public health innovation of the 21st century?...  Read more

PBMs Are Hogging Our Drug Discounts

PBMs Are Hogging Our Drug Discounts

PBMs are knowingly profiting off the backs of American patients, pharmacists, and innovators....  Read more

Advancing 21st Century Pain Management Conference (August 17, 2018)

Advancing 21st Century Pain Management Conference (August 17, 2018)

CMPI conference: Advancing 21st Century Pain Management Keynote Speaker: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb...  Read more

DRUGWONKS BLOG