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April 17, 2013

The Future of Biomedical Research

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Office of the Vice Provost and Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 2013;309(15):1589-1590. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2096

The community of biomedical researchers is anxious, if not downright depressed, about the future, and there is good reason for this pessimism. For decades the importance of biomedical research was a reliable pillar of bipartisan agreement, as evidenced by the continuous high levels of funding that both parties have sustained during the last 3 presidential administrations. From the beginning of President Clinton's first term to the end of President George W. Bush's second term, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget more than tripled, increasing from $8.9 billion to $29.6 billion.1 Cumulatively, over the last 15 years, the federal government has spent more than $385 billion in funding for biomedical research through the NIH—despite 2 wars and a turbulent economy.

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