September 20, 2006 - HOUSE PANEL REJECTS MARKEY EFFORT TO PROTECT LIFE-SAVING RESEARCH FUNDING FROM RAVAGES OF INFLATION

Washington, DC -- Today the Republican majority of the House panel charged with overseeing the National Institute of Health (NIH) voted on party lines aginst protecting the NIH budget from the ravages of inflation.  Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the panel, offered an amendment that would have required that the annual authorization for life-saving research at NIH take inflation into account.  No Republican voted for the Markey amendment.

“Research is medicine’s field of dreams from which we harvest future cures for our families and loved ones,” said Markey.  “By rejecting this amendment, the Republican majority ensures that funding at NIH will be flat-lined just as chronic diseases are set to grow.  Our committee is looking backward, not taking into account a future with inexorable increases in the incidence of Alzheimers’, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer which could saddle our society with enormous costs.  The research we fail to fund today will come back to haunt us if we do not invest in curtailing or curing these devastating diseases.”

The Markey amendment sought to take into account biomedical inflation when determining the annual budget for NIH.  Biomedical inflation is routinely much higher than the Consumer Product Index or other common indices of inflation, sometimes reaching more than 5 percent.  The rate of biomedical inflation has recently averaged about 3.8 percent – a level which would nearly eliminate entirely the value of the authorization levels provided in the underlying NIH bill.  Since the doubling ended in 2003, NIH’s budget in 2004 and 2005 failed to keep up with inflation. Since 2003, the small increases, combined with a high rate of inflation has resulted in an 11 percent loss of purchasing power at NIH.

32 organizations have endorsed the Markey amendment including:
- The Alliance for Aging Research
- The Alzheimer’s Foundation
- Boston University School of Medicine
- Dana Farber Cancer Institute
- Harvard University
- The New England Council
- The Schepens Eye Research Institution  

                                                   american cancer society 09-20-06 002.jpg

Congressman Ed Markey with constituient members of the American Cancer Society during their visit to Capitol Hill on September 20, 2006

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein
202.225.2836