Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, to ensure our nation's competitiveness in the global arena and spur business development and expansion, it is clearly in our nation's interest to ensure robust federal funding for global health research. We are an innovation economy, and the basic research that federal funding makes possible sews the seeds for the later stage and private sector discoveries that attract philanthropic and venture capital dollars. And global health research is a priority for the American people. According to a May 2011 poll commissioned by Research!America, 74% of Georgians say that global health research is important to the economy.
As we consider federal funding for medical research, it is important to keep in mind that investment in global health research brings a rich return to the United States.
Throughout the United States, investment in global health leads to industry. In my home state of Georgia, successful start-ups like Geovax are breaking new ground in global HIV/AIDS research. Funding from the National Institutes of Health helped Geovax get off the ground, and now it is an employer that contributes to Georgia's economy and to improving global health. With global health powerhouses including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Task Force for Global Health, The Carter Center, and CARE all based in Georgia, along with the world class scientists within our university system, Georgia is positioned to become a world leader for global health.
In this age of globalization, when intercontinental travel is a daily occurrence for thousands of people worldwide, treating communicable diseases in other countries is a must for preventing their widespread occurrence here in the United States. We have witnessed several times this past decade how easily diseases travel, as evidenced by the quick spread of SARS, avian flu and pandemic H1N1 flu from other countries to the western world. The spread of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) is also of great concern, as infected individuals can be asymptomatic for years and still transmit the disease. Currently, infectious diseases cost the U.S. $120 billion a year. By funding global health research programs dedicated to the prevention and eradication of communicable diseases in emerging economies, the United States is investing in its own immediate and long-term health, and saving on health care costs for treatment.
The landmark government initiative PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), is showing strong returns. Publicly funded researchers have identified and designed a multitude of preventive measures that reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Recent clinical trials demonstrated that combination antiretroviral treatments (developed by U.S. based pharmaceutical companies) can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 96%. Deploying preventive measures in some of the highest risk countries around the world will certainly help reduce the spread of HIV. These measures will also help reduce the spread of HIV in the United States, where approximately 40,000 people per year are diagnosed, costing the U.S. a projected $12.1 billion in lifetime medical expenses.
Investment in global health research and development today will help produce a healthy, competitive and innovative economy tomorrow. At the same time, such research helps to protect Americans, reduce health care costs and meet our nation's foreign policy goals. And investing in global research is a means of saving lives and preventing disability in impoverished nations--it is an immensely powerful form of humanitarianism that can help millions of people throughout the world now and in the future. As we map out strategies for promoting the U.S. economy, we must not falter in our investment in medical research that surely includes research devoted to combating global illnesses. We must capitalize on opportunities for NIH, CDC, FDA, USAID and DOD to support global health research--for the benefit of Americans and the global community of which we are a part.