Congress budget pact good for global health but NIH cuts threaten US innovations
Friday, March 28, 2014
While a ceasefire in Washington’s budget wars has restored funding for a range of programs targeting global health threats like AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), the simultaneous underfunding of the world’s biggest sponsor of global health research and development (R&D) puts future progress at risk, warns a new report from a coalition of nonprofit groups focused on advancing innovation to save lives. The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) released their annual policy report today at a Capitol Hill briefing.
“The end of political gridlock in Washington put many global health programs on firmer footing with one notable exception: it continued to weaken the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the engine that drives innovation in the fight against infectious diseases,” said Kaitlin Christenson, MPH, director of the GHTC.
The report, Innovation for a changing world: The role of US leadership in global health R&D, examines the state of global health R&D in the wake of a bipartisan agreement reached earlier this year to end an acrimonious budget battle. The GHTC report applauds efforts to halt draconian cuts that were crippling global health programs. And it calls for a long-term budget solution to sustain R&D efforts that are delivering a wealth of new tools to fight diseases that disproportionately affect poor countries. The report places a high priority on urging Congress to approve the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act and seeks a stronger role for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in delivering new products for neglected diseases.