Spending on Medical Research Falls in U.S. While Growing Globally
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Spending on medical research is waning in the United States, and this trend could have dire consequences for patients, physicians and the health care industry as a whole, a new analysis reveals.
America is losing ground to Asia, the research shows. And if left unaddressed, this decline in spending could rob the world of cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression and other conditions that plague the human race, said lead author Dr. Hamilton Moses III, founder and chairman of the Alerion Institute, a Virginia-based think tank.
Moses noted that a great expansion in medical research that began in the 1980s helped revolutionize cancer prevention and treatment, and turned HIV/AIDS from a fatal illness to a chronic condition.
But between 2004 and 2012, the rate of investment growth declined to 0.8 percent a year in the United States, compared with a growth rate of 6 percent a year from 1994 to 2004, the report notes.
“Common diseases that are devastating are not receiving as much of a push as would be occurring if the earlier rate of investment had been sustained,” Moses said.
America now spends about $117 billion a year on medical research, which is about 4.5 percent of the nation’s total health care expenses, the researchers report Jan. 13 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.