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May 20, 1974

Financing Research by Disease Categories

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1974;228(8):995-996. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230330025015

EVER since the federal government became involved in large-scale spending to support research, the pattern has been for the head of each institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to plead his budget before Congress. Congress, thereby, got a liberal education in the ways of medical research. Preceding the various pleas, some lobbying inevitably occurred, and the directors were more or less successful according to their persuasiveness and the number of their congressional friends. The entire appeal was under the firm hand of the then director of the NIH, James Shannon. However, when he retired, times and sentiments changed.

To most practicing physicians, this pattern was of little interest. Three years ago, however, a radical change occurred that should have triggered concern.

The campaign for financial support of the National Cancer Institute changed radically. Highly skilled lobbyists, exemplified by Mike Gorman, backed by potent financial interests with close friendships