NIH research funding a concern for biomedical industry

Representatives from the biomedical and biotechnology industries testified before the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations on Tuesday in response to the recently proposed NIH budget for fiscal year 2013.

One of the key concerns was the stagnation of funding.

Dr. Scott Koenig testified on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, noting that "after nearly a decade of budgets below biomedical inflation, NIH's inflation-adjusted funding is close to 20 percent lower today than in FY2003."

Other testimonies were given by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, representing the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Dr. Todd Sherer, the CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, said that 10 years ago, every third research proposal at the NIH received funding. Today, that number is one out of every six, the lowest in the institute's history.

Dr. Vagelos also worried that NIH support in academia was flagging, saying that "students should be looking forward to independent research and discovery rather than worrying about the first grant".