A Call to Action
Today we are at an important moment in our ability to
transform our knowledge of cancer into advances that will
dramatically improve the entire spectrum of cancer care,
from prevention, early detection, and diagnosis, to treatment
and survivorship. It is a period of great optimism about the
future, which has been made possible by the decades of
federal support for cancer and biomedical research. And, for
this commitment, Americans are deeply grateful to our
Nation’s leaders in Congress and the Executive Branch.
The Public and Private Sectors Play Different Roles in Research
Since the completion of the unprecedented doubling by
Congress of the NIH budget in 2003, appropriations for the
NIH and NCI have remained essentially flat (see Biomedical
Research and Development Price Index Sidebar, p. 77).
Therefore the NIH has lost about 13% of its purchasing
power over the past 8 years due to inflation and the
increasing costs of research and technology. For every year
of lost purchasing power, less life-saving work is
accomplished, and our Nation is losing its long-standing
position of global leadership in science and technology.
Figure 20: Federal research investments through the NIH complement the investments made by private
sector companies and others31. The NIH allocates approximately 60% of its budget to basic, or
fundamental, research, whereas the private sector spends only 15%. However, the inverse is true for
clinical research, where the private sector invests most of its funds and the NIH invests about 15% of its
budget. The pyramids are not intended to denote that investments by the NIH and the private sector are
equivalent; in 2007, the private sector invested more than double the NIH’s investments in research.