Many clinical researches are funded by either the government or private sectors. The role of the government is to promote general welfare and one of the way they do this is by providing health care service, promoting security, food, drug and overall healthy living. In the case for Powassan Disease ways to come up with a cure for disease, the government funds for the costs of clinical researches which could cost up to 1000 dollars per tests in the case for Powassan Disease(CITE). Since many tests are needed, this could add up to more than hundreds of thousands of dollars which is one of the reason why the government isn't funding for research on Powassan Disease. Especially because it is a disease that is not reported frequently, which further influences the government into spending their funding on something more valuable such as the military. Thus the reason why many clinical researches are funded by private sectors like private schools, healthcare companies, family business, organizations and others. For example, Cape Cod Healthcare has provided The TickReport service thirty grand for developing a vaccine or drug for Powassan Disease(CITE). Another example is Johns Hopkins was funded ten million dollars by Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to develop new therapies for Lyme Disease. However, these funding aren't close to enough to carry on the number of tests needed to come up with a viable and efficient way to prevent certain diseases like Powassan Disease. Therefore, the government must provide more funding for clinical research because it will save countless amount lives and it is also their duty to protect the well-being of the people.
Ways Medical Research Project and Programs Get Their Funding
There are many ways to get funding for medical researchers from the federal government, state government, local donors, other private institutions, schools, public websites, sponsored programs and so on. (NOT DONE)
Change of Funding compared from Past to Now
Funding for medical research has been significantly declining not only from the government but also private sectors. Gerald Denis, a professor at BU School of Medicine states, “The situation is serious. The last few years of funding uncertainties have been dangerous and several investigators I know have lost their jobs because grants were terminated…” In a short summary, many universities across the country like BU have lost funding from the government and private sectors and the budget cut is still increasing by year. According to the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), congressional cuts known as the sequestration has resulted in the largest overall decrease in medical research funding since the end of space race (CITE). In numbers, form the year 2010 to 2013, funding decreased by more than 20 billion dollars. The case is more critical for schools like BU where funding from the government and private sectors (Harvard, MIT, etc.) have decreased by more than 50 million dollars in four years. Actually, after the year 2004, funding for medical researchers have been at an alarmingly decreasing rate and is at a stop (SEE APPENDIX). These types of price fluxes in medical research budgets creates problems that put a lot of stress to people in the medical research field. So if the funding for medical research is decreasing where is the money going to? Well, the money is going to corporate and foundation funding. In universities like Harvard, funding for corporate research has tripled in just seven years from 14 million to 41 million. The funding for foundation support has increased by more than fifty percent to 115 million dollars(CITE).
Donald Trump's Proposal
Recently Donald Trump proposed to cut the amounts of funding going into EPA Science by more than fifty percent and instead plans on using those moneys into military and other-security related measures. More precisely, the funding for EPA's Office of Research and development would be cut by nearly fifty percent from $488 million to $250 million(CITE). The reason for Trump for proposing such plan put emphasis on nationalism and his intention of investing more into national defense system and weapons. According to New York Times, President Trump “would funnel 54 billion dollars additional funding into defense programs, beef up immigration enforcement and significantly reduce the nondefense federal workforce…” (CITE). Trump also proposed that he would cut more than six billion dollars from the National Institute of Health which funds for many medical researchers in the country. CDC claimed that Trump's proposal would “reform CDC with a 500-million-dollar block grant to states” (CITE). Not only does this result in loss of funding for medical research projects and programs but a huge increase in unemployment. Causing many to look for a different job that is not even related to the field of science.
How the Congress is Affecting the Medical Research?
Although the President has the power to propose a law, the Congress has the power to either pass the law or veto it. Over the past years, the congress has been unable to pass a budget which causes delays that causes crumbling of many medical facilities such as the National Institute of Health which is the pinnacle of biomedical research facilities. Although the congress is claiming that the US is in budget deficit, the congress is always coming up with new budgets other than for medical researches. Every year numerous NIH projects end and new one begins. However, lately due to lack of funding, researches have been forced to stop or in other words, biomedical researches that has already gone through rigorous review and in process have to be on hold(CITE). On top of that, many talented students, scientists, researchers, and others will have to find other jobs that is not even related to science. This is especially devastating for students who just graduated from college and have just entered the work field. Many might state that researches are funded thirty-one billion dollars, but that only makes up one percent of the US budget of 3.7 trillion dollars. In addition, ten percent budget cut of medical research funding will only save .08 percent of the federal budget(CITE).
Costs for Research
Unfortunately, the cost for carrying out a research and finding the materials can be very costly, hence the necessity for funding. It is important to note that there are different phases because each phase has their own role in the process and separate costs. Phase I is when researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people to evaluate its safety and determine the safe amount of dosage. Phase II is similar to Phase I but the drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people requiring more in quantity costing more money. In Phase III, the drug or treatment is given to large groups of people to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely. In Phase IV, studies are done after the drug or treatment has been marketed to gather information on the drug's effect in various populations and any side effects associated with long-term use(CITE). The amount of money spent per patient has been steadily increasing over years now costing more than 16,000 dollars per patient when it the cost was around
$6000 a decade ago (CITE Appendix). In the case for Powassan Disease, Phase II costs the least at around 4.2 million dollars, then Phase IV at 11 million dollars, then Phase II at 14.2 million dollars and finally Phase III at 22.8 million dollars (CITE APPENDIX). As you can see, the cost drastically increased from Phase I to Phase II making the point that Phase II is costlier because it requires larger sample size. There are is also another cost to developing a drug or vaccine which is the process of regulating the medicine. The approval of a newly developed medical drugs can take up to more than a decade, shutting out a great deal of the experimentation needed for rapid progression. Potential medical needs are rejected and not developed at all, which harms the patients who depends on those medications. The marketing approval process itself costs at a shocking amount of 2,558 million dollars (CITE).
Costs for Victims
For people who have been diagnosed with Powassan Disease, the cost is enormous not only on their health but also on their monetary amount. Since Powassan can't be treated with pills or vaccines, the only option is to be treated at a hospital, costing them up to 10,000 dollars(CITE) and has been increasing by significant amount. More precisely the cost has almost tripled from the year 2000 to year 2010 and is still increasing at an alarming rate(Appendix). Un-top of the costs of hospitalization, the victims are also faced with the charges for transportation by ambulance which costs up to 164 dollars per mile. So if the patient has to transported a hospital at a distance, it can amount up to over a grand and many of these prices aren't covered by insurance(CITE). Not only that, the patients are also returned home by ambulance which isn't covered by their health insurance company resulting in the victim's pulling money out of their own pocket. Thus the reason why many don't go to the hospital or even take the ambulance because of the high cost which results in many people not getting the medical attention they need. By doing this, hospital's, medical services and insurance companies are prioritizing money over the livelihood of human beings. This is supporting the case that hospitals should lower the prices of the process of hospitalization and insurance companies should cover for the transportation of patients to hospital and back home. Especially in Massachusetts, where the cases for Powassan Disease is the greatest (CITE Appendix).
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