WASHINGTON, March 3 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Democratic colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced the National Biomedical Research Act today. This bill would increase funding for targeted biomedical research initiatives through a new, reliable funding stream supporting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration. The purchasing power of the NIH has been cut by Congress for more than a decade. This funding boost will help restore the NIH budget to its 2006 levels, adjusted for biomedical inflation. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are original cosponsors of the legislation.
"As a longstanding supporter of NIH, I believe government plays an important role in facilitating the scientific and medical research that leads to better medical treatments for Americans," Sanders said. "The work of NIH is of great benefit to the health of people throughout the world, and I am pleased to support this legislation."
The National Biomedical Research Act would create the Biomedical Innovation Fund, a new fund designed specifically to provide predictable investments in life-saving biomedical research conducted by leading scientists at the nation's top research institutions. The funding would support specific initiatives such as Vice President Biden's National Cancer Moonshot initiative, the Precision Medicine Initiative, grants for young emerging scientists, and other breakthrough research that will help accelerate the development and approval of new medicines, improve prevention, and increase understanding of life-threatening diseases. Right now, NIH rejects nine of eleven grant proposals, one of the highest rejection rates in history and far below the 1/3 rate called for by agency leaders, because of a lack of resources. Predictability of funding for biomedical research will create stability for researchers and accelerate the pace of scientific advancements.
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