On March 29, ASBMB president, Suzanne Pfeffer, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies. Twenty witnesses representing various research, health and education organizations testified in the public hearing before the subcommittee members.
Dr. Pfeffer’s testimony highlighted the many contributions basic research has made to improve the health and well-being of our nation. She explained how research on cholesterol has led to the development of new drugs to fight cardiovascular disease and how basic molecular biology techniques laid the foundation for the large-scale, synthetic production of molecules like human insulin and antibodies.
Pfeffer also emphasized the considerable economic benefit of an investment in biomedical research. She pointed out that every NIH grant produces seven jobs and that for every $1 invested in NIH, the economy derives a $2 return. “The American biomedical research enterprise plays a critical role in creating high-tech, high-paying jobs, helping to keep America a global leader in innovation and discovery, but it cannot do so without a reliable and robust federal investment,” Pfeffer insisted.
While Pfeffer thanked the subcommittee members for their support of NIH in the past she warned that without sustained funding for NIH, America was in serious jeopardy of losing its standing as the leader in biomedical research enterprise stating that, “when setting budgetary priorities, it is important to remember that technological innovation will be a key component for our future economic security and international competitiveness.”
In her testimony, Pfeffer emphasized that, “the president’s proposal of flat funding [for NIH] will not support the amount of science that was supported last year,” due to increases in inflation. She called for an allocation of $32 billion for the NIH in FY13, with the goal of $35 billion by FY15. She emphasized that only with predictable, sustained funding can the NIH and biomedical researchers hope to “continue to modernize our nation’s research laboratories and facilities, spur innovation and provide an immediate boost in employment for our nation’s workforce.”