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Public Statements

Letter to President Barack Obama - Urging Strong Support for NIH and Basic Medical Research

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Greensboro, NC

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan today sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging strong support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in his fiscal year 2014 budget request. The U.S. is the global leader in basic medical research, and North Carolina is at the forefront of those efforts. NIH-funded research has led to improved public health and enhanced economic growth in North Carolina and across the country. In fiscal year 2011, NIH funding supported 20,000 jobs in the state, including grants to 51 businesses for research and development.

"The National Institutes of Health is the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world, and its work has vastly improved the health of our people while spurring innovative new companies and economic growth," Hagan wrote in her letter to President Obama. "I understand that we operate in an era of difficult budget constraints. However we must continue to make investments important to our future health and economic growth."

These investments also have broad economic effects. It has been estimated that every $1 of NIH funding generates about$2.21 in local economic growth. As a result, in 2011, research supported by the NIH generated $62 billion in new economic activity - more than double the taxpayers' investment.

Investments in NIH research in North Carolina have supported groundbreaking internationally recognized advancements in public health, including Nobel Prize winning work that is aiding in the development of new, potentially more effective drugs for patients, as well as findings that dramatically reduce HIV transmission.

Hagan, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has been a strong advocate for the NIH and basic medical research since coming to the Senate, and has signed letters in support of NIH appropriations funding for the last three fiscal years.

Hagan's letter can be read in full below.

February 19, 2013

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20037

Dear President Obama,

As the Administration finalizes its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014, I write concerning our nation's commitment to funding for basic medical research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world, and its work has vastly improved the health of our people while spurring innovative new companies and economic growth.

As you know, NIH funds groundbreaking research in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. In North Carolina, for example, NIH-funded research supported the Nobel-prize winning work of Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz at Duke University. His findings on cell receptor structure and function are aiding in the development of new, potentially more effective drugs for patients. In addition, the journal Science named the NIH-supported HIV Prevention Trials Network the Scientific Breakthrough of the Year in 2011. Dr. Myron S. Cohen led the research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which found that early treatment with antiretroviral therapy reduced HIV transmission in couples by at least 96 percent. This work and others at universities across the country hold greatpromise for improving the public health.

The return on these investments is not limited to our health, of course. Our economy reaps the benefits, too. In fiscal year 2011, NIH funding supported an estimated 432,000 jobs at more than 2,500 universities, hospitals, non-profit research institutions, and small businesses. In that year, NIH funding supported 20,000 jobs in North Carolina alone, including grants to 51 businesses for research and development of technologies with potential commercial applications. These investments have wider economic effects. It has been estimated that every $1of NIH funding generates about $2.21 in local economic growth. As a result, in 2011, research supported by the NIH generated $62 billion in new economic activity - more than double the taxpayers' investment.

I understand that we operate in an era of difficult budget constraints. However we must continue to make investments important to our future health and economic growth. In order to maintain the United States' role as the global leader in medical research, I encourage you to strongly support the National Institutes of Health in your fiscal year 2014 budget request.

I look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

_____________
Kay R. Hagan
United States Senator


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