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April 4, 1980

Belt Tightening at the NIH: Just How Alarming Is the Alarm?

Author Affiliations

Morris Fishbein Fellow, 1979-1980
From the Division of Scientific Publications, American Medical Association, Chicago.

JAMA. 1980;243(13):1335-1336. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300390019014

SHOULD cost containment, an increasingly prominent consideration in clinical medicine, be applied equally to biomedical research? Or ought publicly financed research be shielded in some way from economic constraints, not to mention political and social pressures? As an alarm is sounded1 over proposed cutbacks in allocations to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is necessary for physicians and other members of the health care field to seek answers to these questions.

Such scrutiny may affront many researchers who rightly see themselves as devoted workers and innocent bystanders (or victims) of political tugs-of-war. Indeed, scientists at the NIH and many "alumni" throughout the country have every reason to be proud of their investigations into the cause, detection, therapy, and prevention of disease. To call the NIH the foremost biomedical research center in the world is an understatement. Even the casual visitor to its campus shares the excitement and privilege of