|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2005
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR AMONG FIRST TO URGE LHHS APPROPRIATIONS CONFEREES TO ADOPT THE SENATE-RECOMMENDED FY 2006 NIH FUNDING LEVEL OF $29.4 BILLION
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) delivered letters to members of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of both the House and Senate urging adoption of the Senate-recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 funding level for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at $29.4 billion. This reflects a 3.7 percent increase over FY2005 funding.
Late last week, the Senate approved its version of the funding measure (HR 3010) that contains $29.4 billion for the NIH and $694 million for the National Eye Institute (NEI), which is $1 billion more for the NIH and $20 million more for the NEI than in the House version of the bill, passed in June.
"Without this increase, net NIH funding will fall below that of FY2005, especially when the biomedical inflation rate of 3.2 percent is factored in," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky. "Now is not the time to weaken out nation's commitment to medical research, as the NIH has the greatest opportunity to improve the health of all Americans."
As evidence of the impact of medical research funding, NAEVR attached to the letter a summary of a September 21 Senate briefing about the discovery by NEI-funded researchers of a gene associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss, especially in seniors. NAEVR noted that NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni has heralded this finding as one of NIH's most important breakthroughs of the year.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 50 professional, consumer and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. NAEVR's goal is to achieve the best vision for all Americans through advocacy and public education for eye and vision research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute (NEI) and other federal research entities. Visit NAEVR's Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.