FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2011
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR: CONCERNED ABOUT SENATE BILLS FY2012 FUNDING CUTS TO NIH/NEI DURING THE DECADE OF VISION 2010-2020
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement expressing concern about the Senates proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which would cut National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by $190 million, or 0.6 percent, to $30.5 billion, and the National Eye Institute (NEI) by $7.9 million, or 1.13 percent, to $693 million. Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) has stated that the Senate bill will be the only LHHS bill marked up this session, so it will be the funding vehicle that Congress considers.
NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky commented as follows:
NAEVR fully appreciates the challenges faced by the Senate Subcommittee as it marked up an FY2012 LHHS funding bill-an allocation $308 million below that of FY2011, and within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), initially funding the Cures Acceleration Network which had been previously authorized by Congress and approving creation of the National Center for Accelerating Translational Sciences (NCATS). However, most NIH Institutes and Centers (I/Cs) will experience a 1.13 percent reduction-almost twice that of NIH overall and about four percent if biomedical inflation is factored in. NEIs cut of $7.9 million, when coupled with its FY2011 reduction of $6.2 million, would result in $14.1 million less for critical research into eye disease and vision impairment. Unfortunately, these cuts not only come at the most exciting time in vision research-as noted in the bills Report Language about NEIs leadership in translational research and research into age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and human gene therapy for neurodegenerative diseases-they also come during the decade in which the majority of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 years of age and be at greatest risk for developing aging eye disease.
In 2009, Congress spoke volumes in passing H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209, which acknowledged NEIs 40th anniversary and designated 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision. It needs to adequately fund NEIs basic and clinical/translational research which is producing breakthrough sight-saving and sight-restoring treatments and therapies which can reduce healthcare costs, maintain productivity, ensure independence, and enhance quality of life.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.