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US Invested $139 Billion In Health Research In 2009

October 8, 2010

Research spending stagnant since 2005 as portion of health costs

The U.S. invested $139 billion last year in health research from all public and private sources, according to Research!America’s latest annual estimate. That amount represents only 5.6% of the $2.47 trillion overall U.S. health spending in 2009″”or 5.6¢ of every health dollar””which varies no more than 0.2% from 2005 levels.

The estimate is available here: http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/healthdollar09.pdf.

The 2009 investment grew by only 0.1% over 2008. This small increase can be attributed largely to the federal stimulus funding for research provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Federal research investment was nearly $46.8 billion in 2009, up from $38.6 billion in 2008.

“America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, but other countries are stepping up, investing more and thus challenging our lead,” said former Congressman John Edward Porter, Research!America’s chair. “We need to invest in our federal research agencies for the long term. Our economic competitiveness and our future standard of living depend on it.”

The effects of the economic recession can be seen throughout the other sectors that fund health research and development””industry, universities, state and local governments, philanthropic foundations, voluntary health associations, and independent research institutes””where such investment remained essentially flat or declined in 2009. Industry was the largest source of health research funding in 2009 at $74.3 billion, down slightly from the prior year’s $74.8 billion. All other sources combined invested $17.8 billion, compared with $17.1 billion in 2008.

Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, said, “We need to make the research and development tax credit permanent as an incentive to the private research enterprise, which builds upon the essential work of our federal research agencies. We need this and other incentives and investments to support the full pipeline of research, so research can get the job done and deliver on its promise of treating, curing and preventing disease, as well as raising health care quality and lowering cost.”

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