Ensuring robust funding for biomedical research is key to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and other neuromuscular diseases. MDA is committed to funding research by directly funding research grants and by advocating for increased federal funding. To this end, MDA has funded over $1 billion in neuromuscular disease research, including over $16 million in new and continuing research grants in 2015, and why increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of MDA’s policy priorities.
Support for NIH is critical, as it is the largest funding source of biomedical research in the United States. While MDA’s research commitment is significant, the scale and scope of what the NIH can fund and support are unparalleled. NIH needs our help because its funding levels have failed to keep up with the rising costs of medical research—and as a result, the NIH now has 22% less purchasing power than it did a decade ago. This lack of funding has resulted in a lower grant application success rate--which means good science goes unfunded.
Recognizing the importance of NIH in helping to develop treatments and cures, many organizations, associations, individuals and lawmakers joined together in carrying the message that NIH funding must be increased. As a result, NIH was on the Congressional agenda in a meaningful way in 2015, as a U.S. Senate NIH Congressional Caucus was developed and legislation that would increase NIH funding moved forward. One example is the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in July 2015. This bill includes numerous provisions and would put in a significant funding boost to NIH, including the development of a new mandatory funding stream. Members on both sides of the aisle in both U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives also voiced their support for increased NIH funding in a series of letters emphasizing the importance of the work funded by the NIH.
MDA appreciates every lawmaker and that supports increased NIH funding—and the collective efforts have made a difference, as Congress has allocated an additional $2 billion for NIH in 2016—which marks the largest funding boost for the Institute in more than a decade.
NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures, for both common and rare diseases. The funds to operate NIH are allocated each year by Congress through the Federal budgeting process. NIH requests funding levels at the beginning of each year for the following year. The current (fiscal year 2015) funding for NIH is $30.3 billion; 2016 funding will be increased by $2 billion, for a total over just over $32 billion.