Biomedical research investment in future

info@islandpacket.comSeptember 16, 2013 

As Congress works to finalize the fiscal year 2014 budget, I urge Rep. Mark Sanford and Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsay Graham to preserve and strengthen federal funding for the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Defense's Parkinson's research program.

Sequestration has already resulted in a $1.5 billion cut to the NIH budget and $209 million for the FDA. With sequestration still in effect and the House and Senate in disagreement over spending, the Parkinson's community fears even deeper cuts next year.

As a member of the Parkinson's community who has watched three generations of my family endure the ravages of this degenerative disease, and though I am in only the early stages of the disease, I would be devastated by these additional cuts. More than 1 million to 1.5 million people in the United States are also affected and depend on dedicated researchers to find better treatments and ultimately a cure.

To continue progress toward much-needed treatments for families like mine and for those with other chronic diseases, we must invest at least $32 billion in the NIH, $2.6 billion in the FDA and $16 million in the Parkinson's research program in fiscal year 2014. Cuts to research funding could also result in a loss of $6.9 million for South Carolina, which could have a devastating impact on the economy. Biomedical research funding is an investment in our country's future. I will be watching for our congressional delegation's leadership on this issue.

Adrienne O'Neill

South Carolina state director

Parkinson's Action Network

Hilton Head Island

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