Biomedical Research Funding Shows Decline in 2008

The decline followed 7.8 percent annual increases in 1994 to 2003, 3.4 percent in 2003 to 2007

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- After increasing since 1994, annual funding for biomedical research topped out at $90.2 billion in 2007 and began to decline in 2008, according to a study in the Jan. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

E. Ray Dorsey, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues analyzed funding for biomedical research from government (federal, state and local), industry, and private sources since 1994. The researchers compared financial trends between 1994 to 2003 and 2003 to 2007, as well as the pace of new drug and device approvals.

The researchers found that biomedical research funding went up from $75.5 billion in 2003 to $101.1 billion in 2007. Adjusted for inflation using the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index, this was an annual increase rate of 3.4 percent, compared to a 7.8 percent annual increase rate from 1994 to 2003. The combined total for the two largest donors, the National Institutes of Health and industry, amounted to $90.2 billion (adjusted for inflation) in 2007, but decreased to $88.8 billion in 2008.

"After a decade of doubling, the rate of increase in biomedical research funding slowed from 2003 to 2007, and after adjustment for inflation, the absolute level of funding from the National Institutes of Health and industry appears to have decreased by 2 percent in 2008," the authors write.

Three study authors reported receiving research support from, being consultants or advisors for, or holding stock options in pharmaceutical companies.

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