We seek the immediate restoration of funding for the National Institutes of Health to advance life-saving medical research for patients around the world.

We Must Restore NIH Funding

Thank you, Congress, for the $2 billion increase in NIH funding for FY 2019. This gets us one step closer to restoration.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation’s medical research agency. NIH research saves lives, fuels our economy, strengthens our national security, and ensures global leadership.

Nearly 95 percent of NIH’s budget funds medical research competitively awarded to scientists, research institutions, and small businesses in every state across the country. This investment sparks remarkable scientific advances that aid understanding, treatment, prevention, and cures for thousands of diseases and conditions. But, medical research funding in the United States is in crisis. Adjusted for inflation, NIH receives 13 percent less funding than it did in 2003.

Even with recent Congressional investments, NIH's purchasing power is still 13% below its 2003 level. If NIH funding had kept up with biomedical inflation, it would receive almost $5 billion more than it does today–money that could be funding thousands of worthy research projects across the country.

To learn more about our mission, you can download our Fact Sheet by clicking here.

Medical Research Saves Lives

Medical research in the United States is in crisis.

Diseases like cancer, stroke, opioid addiction, and mental illness touch each of us. Investing in NIH helps the people we care about most, now and in the future. For example, half of all men and a third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Someone's mother, father, husband, or wife is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease every 65 seconds. And in 2017, opioid and heroin overdoses took nearly twice as many American lives as were lost in auto accidents. Without sustained NIH investment, research to cure diseases and save lives will stall or cease. Investing in NIH helps the people we care about most, now and in the future.

The U.S. has long been the global leader in medical research. But other countries are quickly catching up. If current trends continue, China will outspend the
U.S. on all research and development by the end of this year. Chinese venture capital and private equity funds raised $45 billion for investment in the life sciences from 2015-2017, and Chinese spending on research and development has risen twice as fast as its gross domestic product.

Public heath security is national health security. NIH-funded research defends us against bioterrorism, new and emerging diseases, flu, and other pandemics. This research is essential to protecting the nation against deadly outbreaks of diseases like Zika and Ebola.

And, investing in NIH strengthens our national economy. Nearly 95% of NIH's budget funds medical research by scientists, research institutions, and small businesses in every state across the country. This investment is a multiplier in local economies, creating more than 400,000 jobs and driving nearly $69 billion in economic activity. The American bioscience industry employs more than 1.74 million people, consistently generating high-quality jobs and significant economic output across the nation.

A strong economy depends on smart government investment, so we need to look at how NIH investment can protect Medicare and other programs. Right now, Medicare spends $1 out of every $3 dollars to care for Americans with diabetes, and $1 of every $5 to care for Americans with Alzheimer’s. If we want to save Medicare and balance the budget, we must invest in biomedical research.

Hope Is On The Horizon

Americans are living longer and healthier lives, thanks in large part to NIH-funded research. Cancer deaths dropped more than 25 percent between 1990 and 2015, and survival rates are rapidly increasing for many types of cancer. Thirty years ago, HIV was a death sentence but, today, a 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV who receives treatment is expected to live into their 70s. And from 1968-2013, deaths from heart disease and stroke fell by 78%.

Many new NIH-funded therapies are reaching patients today:

  • Cancer Immunotherapy: Until 2011, there were three common therapies for cancer -- chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. In 2011, the first of a new wave of therapies, known as cancer immunotherapy, was approved by the FDA and began to reach patients. These new immunotherapies, referred to as checkpoint inhibitors, teach the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells that immune cells would otherwise ignore. Forty percent of cancer patients who receive these therapies see their cancers disappear. This therapy resulted from years of basic research pioneered by ACTforNIH Advisory Committee member Jim Allison, who received the 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine. His co-winner, Tasuko Honjo, discovered a similar target in cancer cells, and the drug resulting from Dr. Honjo’s work cured President Jimmy Carter of metastatic melanoma.
  • Sickle cell therapy in human clinical trials: at least six different companies are testing potential new genetic and cellular therapies for sickle cell disease.
  • Precision medicine through the All of Us initiative: this historic effort to gather data from more than one million people living in the U.S. will uncover new paths toward delivering precision medicine, accelerating research, and improving health. One of the world's largest and most diverse biomedical data sets in history, this initiative will spark a new era of evidence-based and more precise preventive care and medical treatment.

Restore NIH Funding

It’s time to restore NIH funding and ensure NIH is put on the path for steady, reliable growth for years to come.