Democratic Bill Includes $1.5 Billion for NIH for COVID-19 Medical Research
Washington, D.C. – On Friday the House is expected to pass, chiefly with Democratic support, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act. It includes $1.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
Congressman Sherman stated: “In hundreds of hours of all-caucus phone calls, and in dozens of private discussions, I have emerged as the loudest and most consistent advocate for additional funds for the NIH and for medical research. While I support the trillions of dollars that have been spent to bandage the wounds caused by this crisis, ultimately, we must beat the virus. Up until now, less than ½ of 1% of the money spent during the COVID-19 crisis has been spent on COVID-19 medical research.”
“The Democratic bill we will pass Friday provides $4.7 billion to the NIH; but most of that goes for research projects unrelated to COVID-19. The bill provides only $1.5 billion for NIH-supported COVID-19 medical research. It also provides up to $4 billion of additional funds for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to do its development work after treatments are invented.
I will continue to push until we have enough funds to explore every reasonable combination of generic drugs and test their use at every stage of the disease, to determine what works. While the pharmaceutical companies have ample economic incentive to develop new patentable drugs, only the public sector is likely to research the use of generics and other compounds in the public domain.”
“Thomas Edison tried 3,000 different filaments until he found the one that would make a practical light bulb. We need to explore every reasonable idea. And the clinical research organizations, the folks who conduct double-blind studies, are sitting at home because more non-COVID-19 research has been suspended.” The $1.5 billion in the Democratic bill is a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough to all the medical research this crisis requires.