Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Appropriations Committee today launched an examination into reports that the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Office of Communications and Education (OCE) spent about $45 million in FY2012, nearly double the entire amount the Food and Drug Administration spent on communications.
The members wrote, "The House has demonstrated strong support for the core mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to invest in basic biomedical research that can lead to better health and cures for diseases. With increasingly tight federal budgets, every dollar invested at the NIH becomes even more precious
" The OCE spending concern comes at a time of cuts to research from budgetary sequestration and when the NCI success rate for grant applications is at an all-time low of 14%. Given the need for the NIH to find ways to control spending, our committees are interested in examining the expenditures of the 27 Institutes and Centers within the NIH for separate offices of communications or public relations as well as the NIH Office of the Director."
The members requested NIH provide more information on the amount of funds used by NIH and its Institutes and Centers for communications or public relations purposes by April 25, 2013.
The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Subcommittee Vice Chairman Rodney Alexander (R-LA).
Full letter is available in PDF format below: