A picture of Senator Richard J. Durbin
Richard D.
Democrat IL

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  • Health Care Research Funding

    by Senator Richard J. Durbin

    Posted on 2015-03-11

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    DURBIN. Mr. President, another critical part of this conversation is health care research.

    One of the most outstanding men serving the Federal Government in America is named Francis Collins. He is an amazing man who heads up the National Institutes of Health. He is a great physician and a great researcher.

    When the United States wanted someone to head up the Human Genome Project, they picked Francis Collins. He managed to bring that project to success by providing more information than anyone ever dreamed of, and now we are better in treating problems and diseases across America.

    I went to see him last year at the National Institutes of Health. We talked about medical research in America, and what he had to say was terrifying. There has been a 23-percent decline in medical research in the United States over the last 10 years. We have not even kept up with inflation in providing money for medical research, and that is not lost on people in the research field.

    We are now finding that our medical researchers are older and older. Younger researchers have given up. They don't think they are getting approvals for their research applications. As they leave the field, the new generation of researchers has diminished and our ability to find cures has also diminished.

    At the same time that the United States is backpedaling and falling away from its leadership in biomedical research, the rest of the world is charging forward. The European Union is making massive investments in medical research and in just a few years the Chinese will pass the United States for the first time in their investment in biomedical research. They understand that in addition to finding cures, biomedical research is really the opening for entrepreneurship, profitability, pharmaceutical companies, medical devices, and they want to make sure China is in the lead. Why isn't the United States in the lead? I will speak about two particular diseases that need to be researched.

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