As Sequestration Cuts Takes Effect, Impact on Massachusetts Biotech Could Be Significant

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Now that the March 1st deadline to avoid sequestration has passed, national focus has shifted to how Congress can avoid government shutdown at the end of the month. In the fiscal year 2013 alone, $85 billion in reductions are set to go into effect, and its impact will be felt in the coming weeks. If the impending cuts are enacted, the biotech community can expect to be affected in a number of ways.

Some of the largest sequester cuts will be to the National Institute of Health (NIH), which is the biggest funder of medical research in the U.S. The budget of the NIH is scheduled to drop 7.6 percent in the next five years, forcing the NIH to delay or halt vital scientific projects and make hundreds fewer research awards. These NIH cuts will disproportionately harm Massachusetts, as the Commonwealth receives twice the NIH funding per capita than other states. These cuts not only have the potential to devastate our state economy, but will also delay progress on preventing debilitating chronic conditions, as well as the development of more effective treatment for common and rare diseases that affect millions of Americans. Additional information on how NIH funding cuts will harm Massachusetts can be found here.

According to the White House, in the year 2013 alone, Massachusetts can expect to see a reduction in funding for vaccinations of about $201,000, resulting in thousands of fewer children receiving immunizations. In addition, cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) could result in thousands of patients across the nation losing access to life saving HIV medications. The Massachusetts State Department of Public Health will also lose funding, resulting in 9,200 fewer HIV tests in the Commonwealth. The White House’s report on the impact sequestration will have on Massachusetts can be accessed here.

The FDA will also lose a significant amount of its funding- more than 5 percent of its annual budget. These cuts pose a serious threat for the approval of new drugs. The sequester cuts would cause the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) to face delays in translating new science and technology into regulatory policy and decision-making, resulting in delays in potential life-saving drug approvals.

 

Margaret HamburgWe look forward to hearing FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s perspective on this and other issues impacting the FDA at our Annual Meeting next week. The MassBio Annual Meeting is being held March 14-15, 2013 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Learn more & register here.

Posted on March 6, 2013, in MassBio, Policy Briefs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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