Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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Trump Reportedly Considering New Budget Cuts to "Disembowel" the NIH

Trump Reportedly Considering New Budget Cuts to "Disembowel" the NIH | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Two months ago, the Trump administration unveiled its so-called “skinny budget,” which envisioned cutting funds for the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent, or $5.8 billion (read “Trump's Budget Would Put NIH & U.S. Medical Research into a Nose Dive!”; http://sco.lt/5qbezp). Scientists were appalled. As my colleague Adrienne LaFrance reported, one doctor said that the cuts “would set off a lost generation in American science.”

 

The bulked-up version of the President’s budget for fiscal year 2018, which will be released next week, may not allay those fears. According to two sources within the NIH who were briefed on the issue, the administration may pursue a new strategy in its quest for cuts, by proposing a 10 percent cap on the NIH’s indirect costs—the money it gives to grantees to support administration, equipment, libraries, IT, lighting, heating, electricity, and other overhead.

 

“It’s going to make every single university president across the country call their representative,” says one of the sources, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.

 

It’s not surprising that the administration is considering a cap. In the wake of the skinny budget, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price defended the cuts by arguing that indirect costs represented “inefficiencies”—money going towards “something other than the research that’s being done.” As Science reported in March, the NIH doled out $6.4 billion in indirect costs in fiscal year 2016, which was 38 percent of the $16.9 billion it spent directly on research. If the 10 percent ceiling had been installed, indirect costs would have been capped at roughly $1.7 billion, representing a saving of $4.7 billion.

 

“Even if you wanted to do this, you don’t do it in one year,” says Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate and former NIH director. “It would be a tremendous blow for many of our research institutions and ignores the real cost of doing research. If you really want to disembowel a source of learning and ingenuity in America, this is what you do.”

 

“Instead of having an informed process where they get people together and talk about how to build efficiencies, they’re just backing into the numbers that the President put forward,” says one of the sources at the NIH.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Head of NIH Testifies Before Congress in Support of the Next Generation of Research Scientists”; http://sco.lt/6K4Ecr
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Trump's Budget Would Put NIH & U.S. Medical Research into a Nose Dive!

Trump's Budget Would Put NIH & U.S. Medical Research into a Nose Dive! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

The National Institutes of Health would absorb an enormous $5.8 billion cut under President Trump’s first budget proposal — equal to about 19 percent of its current $30.3 billion discretionary budget.

The plan “includes a major reorganization” of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers and would eliminate the Fogarty International Center, a $69.1 million program dedicated to building partnerships between health research institutions in the United States and abroad.

With few details available in the budget outline, it is unclear what kind of reorganization the administration envisions at NIH, the crown jewel of U.S. biomedical research. The agency funds research into a vast array of diseases and conditions, including cancer, heart disease, developmental disorders and mental illness.

The agency passes out more than 80 percent of its money to more than 300,000 researchers at universities across the country and abroad. It also has hundreds of researchers conducting studies in labs at its sprawling campus in Bethesda, Md. Its world-renowned clinical center treats patients from around the world seeking last-chance cures and volunteers testing cutting-edge therapies.

Pharma Guy's insight:

This is part and parcel of the current anti-science sentiment and a good reason for pharma people to participate in the April 22 March for Science: http://sco.lt/8TdiaH 

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Biden Bashes Trump's Proposed "Draconian Cuts" to NIH Funding

Biden Bashes Trump's Proposed "Draconian Cuts" to NIH Funding | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

In a speech about finding hope in the war against cancer, former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t mince words about President Trump’s approach to funding biomedical science:

 

“He’s proposing draconian cuts — not only to biomedical research, but also to the entire scientific expertise across the board,” Biden said, speaking at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in Washington.

 

This comes in stark contrast with Biden’s speech at South by Southwest festival last month in Austin, in which he was reluctant to criticize the Trump administration. But his tone seems to have shifted in the wake of the president’s new budget blueprint (read “Trump's Budget Would Put NIH & U.S. Medical Research into a Nose Dive!”; http://sco.lt/5qbezp).

 

Biden said the proposed $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health would be a stunning blow to scientific progress.

 

“This would set the NIH budget, and biomedical research, back 15 years — and that’s not hyperbole,” Biden said. “The chance of getting a grant would almost certainly reach an historic low.”

 

Grants, he pointed out, are funded for multiple years — and as the NIH is already committed to funding existing grants, the massive cuts would interfere with its ability to dole out further funding to researchers. In his speech, Biden cited “one reliable estimate” that up to 90 percent of grants in 2018 would be cut. It would close labs, end careers, and delay scientific breakthroughs, Biden said.

 

“This is no time to undercut progress, for god’s sake,” Biden said. “It’s time to double down — time to be sure we can deliver on the promise of science and technology to extend and improve lives.”

Pharma Guy's insight:

Yes, but keep in mind that Draco's laws came into effect at the dawn of "democracy" in Athens!

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