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Monday, April 22, 2013
Sequestration and Medical Research Funding

On March 1, the sequester was enacted -- and medical research is already feeling the effects. For example, at Columbia University Medical Center, the losses in medical research dollars for fiscal year 2013 are estimated at $19 million, and “the losses will be even greater in 2014,” according to last week's story in The Atlantic. “Now, with research funding at an all time low, the odds of continued development are not in our favor. The sequester is essentially slowly killing me and millions of patients still looking for cures,” author Sarah Bacon, who has a rare lung disease, writes in the article.

            Many neurologists and researchers are holding their breath to see whether their work will continue to receive funding. National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Director Story C. Landis, PhD, told Neurology Today: “The budget’s been flat; so our budget, with the anticipated 5 percent cut, would be the same budget we had six years ago in 2007.” After accounting for inflation, that takes the budget back to about the year 2000.

“NINDS has worked very hard over the last five years to look at all the programs that we run, and if one of the programs that we initiated had not met its goal, closed it down,” Dr. Landis added. “We’ve closed down tens of millions of dollars of programs. We’ve significantly increased the efficiency of our clinical trials efforts. It’s not that we have things that can easily be removed from our budget.”

Stay tuned for the full story on sequestration and neurology research in the May 16 issue of Neurology Today. For our past coverage of these cuts, see: bit.ly/12Cyj1S.

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