Global Health Technologies Coalition warns against underfunded NIH

While lauding a deal that halted the so-called "sequestration" budget cuts that would cripple global health programs, the Global Health Technologies Coalition warns against underfunding the National Institutes of Health.

Neglect of the NIH, the world's biggest sponsor of global health research and development, puts future progress at risk, the annual policy report argues. The coalition is made up of nonprofit groups focused on advancing innovation to save lives.

The coalition calls for a long-term budget solution to sustain R&D efforts that are delivering new tools to fight diseases that disproportionately affect poor countries, according to an announcement.

In particular, it urges Congress to approve the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act, which would codify support for U.S. Agency for International Development R&D and cooperation between U.S. agencies. It also seeks a stronger role for the Food and Drug Administration in delivering new products for neglected diseases.

The NIH budget for 2014 was $950 million less than the agency received in 2012, the report points out. A report by the Congressional Research Service found the agency's real spending power down by 22 percent compared to 2003.

It's urging Congress to develop a long-term plan for retaining and expanding U.S. leadership in global health product development, and for the U.S. to play a stronger role within the World Health Assembly, which develops and funds a series of global health demonstration projects.

The NIH has funded a range of projects, including efforts to improve prostheses and robotic sensing; projects to improve human gene sequencing, as well as President Obama's BRAIN initiative, which takes aim at finding cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

To learn more:
- find the report
- here's the announcement

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