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Commentary
September 1, 2010

A New Research and Development Policy Framework for the Biomedical Research Enterprise

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center (Dr Federoff); and Association of Academic Health Centers (Dr Rubin), Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2010;304(9):1003-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1270

Health care and jobs, top priorities on President Obama's economic agenda, are at risk with the current and outmoded policy infrastructure for the nation's biomedical research enterprise. Biomedical research is integral to almost every realm of government responsibility—from protecting health and security to promoting economic growth and global competitiveness. Despite this, there is little focused leadership on biomedical research policy.

Policy makers must recognize the links between health care and the research enterprise—links now endangered by forces that threaten the academic health centers that power and sustain these activities. Health reform, an expanding regulatory environment, and global competitiveness directly affect these institutions and call attention to the inadequacies of biomedical research policy. The United States has no national agency or research and development planning mechanism and no separately-identified research and development budget. Today's biomedical research enterprise is built on a shifting foundation of policy making, which limits planning and operational effectiveness.

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